ONE person died and some rescue volunteers were rushed to hospital for smoke inhalation after a big fire broke out at Sampeng market in Bangkok’s Chinatown today (June 26) with throngs of weekend shoppers fleeing in panic, Sanook.com and JS 100 Radio said.
Sampheng is an historic market of Chinatown in Samphanthawong district. It was settled during the establishment of Bangkok in 1782 by Teochew Chinese, and eventually grew into the surrounding areas. The original street of Sampheng, now officially known as Soi Wanit 1, is today a small alleyway lined with numerous shops.
JS 100 Radio said that the fire broke out at one of the shophouses on Ratchawong road in front of Soi Kikuya and near Ratchawong pier at around 11.30 p.m. Shortly afterwards it was brought under control but there was still a lot of smoke pouring out.
It was believed that a transformer exploded at the three-storey shophouse and then spread to cars parked in front of it. Around four to five shophouses were destroyed before the blaze was doused.
The fire frightened throngs of weekend shoppers who quickly dashed for safety and led to heavy traffic building up in the area.
The identity, gender and age of the person who died is as yet not known while rescue volunteers who choked on the thick smoke were taken to nearby Klang Hospital for treatment.
Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt was on his way to inspect this large fire.
The fire raging at the Sampeng shophouses with thick smoke pouring out after it was brought under control. Top photo: JS 100 Radio, Front Page photo: Sanook.com