A blaze at a popular Phuket discotheque in Patong early Friday morning reportedly killed four tourists and injured many others. Police have yet to identify whether the dead two men and two women are Thais or foreign.
Phuket Wan online reported the fire that broke out at 3.55am, almost two hours after all bars and other venues in Patong are supposed to close, killing at least four people. The injured were sent to Patong Hospital for treatment.
Firefighters fought the flames for about an hour before finally extinguishing the fire at the entertainment venue, which is in Katu district.
Forensic police were able to enter the fire scene a short time ago to check the cause of the blaze. It is believed the bodies are still inside, the online news site reported.
At Patong Hospital, authorities were unable to pinpoint precisely how many were injured in the fire, but a nurse did say that one man was critically burned and in danger. Four of those injured were French. All but two survivors were treated and released.
Phuket Wan added that Patong is currently in the middle of an election campaign for mayor, with the incumbent, Pian Keesin, standing again and hoping to win on September 2.
Meanwhile Kanyaporn Khanthong, told reporters that she and her friends were in the crowded discotheque at about 2.30am when somebody yelled out “fire”.
“However, nobody heeded the warning and continued enjoying the music and drinks. Shortly after that smoke was seen in the venue. Then, the ceiling bulbs fell to the ground,” she said.
She ran and tried to leave the premises but found herself stuck at the exit because of the crowds. “I was helped by foreign tourists and managed to escape," said Kanyaporn who was injured in the fire.
Phuket Wan quoted the manager of the Tiger Discotheque, Tamrongsak Boonsak, as saying the fire broke out about 2am.
“People heard two bangs and it was originally thought that these came from further down Soi Bangla. We will do what we can to help those who have been injured and to help the families of those who have died.”
He estimated damage at Bt100 million and said that investigating police would have full cooperation.