Thailand pub owner charged after fire kills 15 people and injures dozens

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Authorities in Thailand have charged the owner of a pub where a fire last week killed 15 people and injured at least three dozen others.

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.

Pongsiri Panprasong, 27, owner of the Mountain B pub, turned himself in late on Saturday.

He was charged with causing death by negligence and operating an entertainment venue without permission.

If convicted he could face up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to 200,000 baht ($5,580).

“I am sorry. I want to say sorry to the victims’ families,” Mr Pongsiri was quoted as saying to reporters through a window at the back of a police prison van at the court in Pattaya, reported Associated Press.

He also promised to compensate all victims for their loss.

While 13 people died at the scene on Friday another person died in a hospital on Friday and the 15th victim, Thanakrit Neenoi, died on Saturday.

Several of the injured had severe burns and are in a critical condition.

Authorities are now investigating whether the pub met all safety standards.

Earlier 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.

According to Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt the city had conducted inspections on more than 400 entertainment venues in the city before the fire and found 83 places failing to comply with safety standards.

He told reporters on Saturday that the venues would be ordered to close down if they did not act to fix their problems.

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.