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Fire razes 150-year-old market in Bang Phli

A 150-year-old market in Bang Phli district caught fire on Tuesday night, destroying at least 50 homes.  Above: Firefighters try to put out the blaze and, below, the state of the market yesterday morning.

A 150-year-old market in Bang Phli district caught fire on Tuesday night, destroying at least 50 homes. Above: Firefighters try to put out the blaze and, below, the state of the market yesterday morning.

"Though it was fortunate that my family managed to escape unharmed, we are heartbroken to see the 150-year-old market burned down, especially since it was an iconic place in [Samut Prakan's] Bang Phli district," said noodle vendor Sayan Uthansawat, 54.

Sayan, who has lived in the area for 30 years, and other residents spent hours looking at the ruins of the market near Wat Bang Phli Yai (Luang Por Tho) after the Tuesday night blaze razed at least 50 wooden shophouses to the ground.

The fire began at around 9.30pm in the central area of the Samrong canal-side market and took firefighters about an hour to get the flames under control. The cause of the fire is being investigated and the damage was being assessed at press time.

"The flames spread very fast and consumed many buildings here that were made of teak," Sayan said, adding that his own home was partially damaged. "No monetary value can be put on the damage because the market had sentimental and historical value. Even though it will be rebuilt, it can never be the same."

Though many of the residents were in tears to see their homes burned down, most were relieved that there were no casualties.

Jamnian Panya-achakul, 57, said she was sad about the fire damage because even though she did not own a shop or home there, her close friend did and she visited the market often.

"I came to see what I could do to help. But there was nothing that could be done, we all had to flee to safety."

As the fire ravaged the market on Tuesday, a rescue-volunteer truck - heading from Thon Buri to help put out the fire - overturned at 10pm on an expressway. Seven people were injured.




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