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Fifteen killed in ‘inferno’ at music pub in Thailand

Fifteen people were killed and dozens badly injured by a fire that broke out at a music pub in eastern Thailand.

The blaze at the Mountain B pub, in the Sattahip district of Chonburi province, was reported at around 12.45 am on 5 August, according to police.

At least 100 pub-goers were listening to live music in the pub when a fire broke out in the roof above the stage. Videos on social media showed thick black smoke and then flames pouring from the front entrance as people attempted to flee, some with their clothing on fire.

Thirteen people died at the scene, with the death toll since rising to 15.

A spokesperson for Queen Sirikit Naval Hospital said 15 patients required intubation, with most suffering third-degree burns over more than 60% of their bodies. Two patients were transferred to a hospital in Bangkok for advanced treatment.

An electrical short circuit near the stage is initially thought to have been the cause of the tragedy, according to Chonburi deputy governor Naris Niramaiwong.

Flames poured from the front entrance as people attempted to flee, some with their clothing on fire

After an initial investigation by the police, it was found that at least one exit door was locked when the fire broke out and that the pub was lined with flammable soundproofing.

Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda said that the venue did not have a pub licence and was built in an area where entertainment venues were prohibited, while Pol Maj Gen Atthasit Kitjahan, commander of the Chonburi police, added that the premises was licensed to operate as a restaurant and had been illegally altered.

Mountain B owner Pongsiri Panprasong has been charged for causing death through recklessness and operating a pub without a licence. Panprasong’s lawyer says he has confessed to all charges.

Prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has urged business operators and officials to ensure that safety measures are in place for entertainment venues nationwide.

The blaze at Mountain B pub comes 13 years after a similar incident at Santika nightclub in Bangkok on 1 January 2009. Sixty-six people were killed and more than 200 injured in a fire during a New Year’s Eve celebration at the club. The blaze began on the ceiling above a stage, apparently sparked by an indoor fireworks display. Toxic smoke flooded the venue and contributed to the death toll as the entire club caught fire.

The fires in Thailand echo similar tragedies such at the unlicensed Ghost Ship in California, where an electrical fire sent the converted warehouse up in flames,  The Station in Rhode Island, where pyrotechnics ignited inflammable insulation foam during a concert by Great White, and Colectiv in Bucharest, where band Goodbye to Gravity and hundreds of clubgoers were caught in an almost identical blaze.


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