At least 13 people were killed and dozens injured after a fire broke out in a pub in eastern Thailand, authorities said on Friday.
The fire was reported at Mountain B pub in Sattahip district of Chonburi province, about 100 miles southeast of Bangkok, around 1am local time during a live music performance.
Witnesses said they saw smoke billowing out of the pub and heard loud sounds of explosions.
“The fire started at the top right corner of the stage,” a witness identified only as Nana told PPTV. “The singer must have seen it too, so he shouted ‘fire’ and threw away the microphone.”
“I am quite shocked. But I am lucky that when I saw the fire, I could get myself together and get out of there,” she said.
A waitress at the pub, Thanyapat Sornsuwanhiran, said she saw smoke near the stage.
“I shouted ‘fire’ to customers, and I was near the doors, so I directed them out. I kept shouting ‘fire, fire’ and the security guards were also helping lead people out,” she told local media.
Another witness, a DJ at the pub, who did not wish to be named, said he heard the sound of an explosion and shattering windows.
He added that the fire spread in about a minute.
Rescue workers told local television channels that the pub was lined with flammable soundproofing, which made matters worse.
It took two hours for firefighters to put out the blaze, said Manop Theprith of a private emergency service, which estimated that 40 people were injured.
The back door of the pub often remained locked, reported Thai public television station TPBS.
According to the police, the club had three entrances: at the front, on the side near the cashier for unloading goods, and at the back.
While the exact cause of the blaze is yet to be determined, officials from the Sawang Rojanathammasathan Rescue Foundation said flammable acoustic foam on the club’s walls might have accelerated the speed at which the fire tore through the venue, reported BBC News.
Prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has announced aid for families of the victims and urged entertainment venues nationwide to ensure they have proper emergency exits and safety measures in place.
During the 2008-09 New Year’s Eve celebrations, Thailand witnessed one of its deadliest fires in recent decades at a nightclub in Bangkok, where 66 people were killed and over 200 injured.
Another fire at a nightclub in Phuket in 2012 killed four people and injured about a dozen others.
Additional reporting by agencies