Distressing videos emerged Friday of terrified people fleeing a Thai nightclub after a fire broke out at the venue, killing at least 14 and injuring dozens more.
Footage showed chaos erupted as the fire broke out of the Mountain B hotspot in Thailand’s eastern Chonburi province, about 111 miles east of Bangkok, at around 1 am on Friday.
People were filmed running out of the burning club, as others screamed in panic.
Flames and clouds of thick, black smoke could be seen bursting out of the one-story building, with shoes and bottles belonging to the fleeing revelers littering the ground outside.
Thai police said the fire claimed the lives of 14 people, including a 17-year-old clubgoer, and left at least 38 others injured, 14 of them severely. All the victims have been identified as Thai nationals.
Singer Chatchai Chuenkha, 30, who was performing with his band at the club when the fire ignited, was among the dead.
“My son was a breadwinner,” Chuenkha’s mother, Premjai sae Ung, said, according to Bangkok Post. “Someone must be held responsible for this.”
Photos released by authorities showed the bodies of victims trapped in small spaces, piled on top of each other and ravaged by the hellish inferno as they battled in vain to escape.
Police said that a number of bodies were found next to the DJ booth, which is believed to be where there were two explosions, followed by the fire. The blaze spread rapidly because the building was lined with highly flammable sound-insulating foam, they added.
A witness who went by the name Nana told local TV that she was with five friends when the fire broke out at the venue.
“I saw flames above the stage, on the right side. I think it was about the same time that the singer on stage saw it too and he shouted ‘fire!’ and threw the mic at it,” she told broadcaster PPTV. “I saw a lot of the pub’s bouncers covered in fire inside.”
Club patron Nattanit Pikulkaew told Acesparks she was at the venue celebrating her brother’s birthday when she heard a woman screaming that the roof was on fire.
“Within no time, the fire had spread to the ceiling,” she said. “I saw people trying to break the glass walls but they were too thick.”
Pikulkaew revealed that her brother suffered extensive burns and is in critical condition, while a friend who was with him died.
More than 20 fire trucks, along with police and ambulances, responded to the scene. Officials said it took around three hours to bring the fire under control. The cause of the incident is now being investigated.
Police Colonel Boonsong Yingyong, the deputy investigator at the region’s Phlu Ta Luang Police Station, said: “The fire was difficult to control because inside the building there were highly flammable objects, especially sound-absorbing foam solutions.”
The inferno happened around 25 miles from the popular tourist town of Pattaya. Officials said that the nightclub had only been open for a month and they are now looking into whether it had the proper paperwork.
The incident comes 13 years after pyrotechnics started a blaze at a New Year’s party at the crowded Santika nightclub in Bangkok, killing 66 people. Investigations into that fire found several key breaches at the club and corruption.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on Friday assured victims’ families they would receive help from authorities and urged entertainment venues nationwide to ensure they have proper emergency exits and safety measures in place.
With Post Wires