The Asok-Sukhumvit area of central Bangkok faced chaos on Saturday as a fire broke out at a 13-floor office building but no one was injured, police said.
The spectacular fire, believed to have been caused by an electrical short-circuit, originated on the seventh floor of the Fico Place building located on Sukhumvit Soi 21 (Asok) shortly before 3pm and spread quickly to other top floors.
The inbound and outbound lanes from the Asok-Phetchaburi to Asok-Sukhumvit intersections were closed to traffic to allow more than a dozen fire trucks and crane units better access to combat the blaze. Heavy traffic jams resulted in the immediate area and surrounding vicinity.
Firefighters sprayed water into the building from outside but failed to contain the flames which spread to the 12th floor at about 4pm. Limited space around the building and power lines reportedly obstructed the firefighting operation.
The firefighters decided to demolish parts of the walls of the building to try to control the blaze from inside because the complex’s key-card access system prevented them from entering, and fire hoses were lacking.
The fire was brought under control about 4.30pm. The estimated damage is not yet known.
Deputy Bangkok Governor Malinee Sukvejvorakij said the cause of the fire was under investigation. Initial assumptions suggested problems in the building’s interior electrical systems were likely to blame, as the complex was closed and no one was working on the weekend.
City Hall’s Public Works Department will look into the safety of the building after forensic police examine the scene and reach a conclusion about the cause of the fire, Dr Malinee said.
The Public Works Department will also check whether the construction of the building complied with the building control law.
Fico Place is owned by Fico Corporation controlled by the Srichawla family, who operate the Grand Millennium Sukhumvit Hotel, Le Fenix Sukhumvit Hotel and Fenix Tower in Sukhumvit Soi 31 among many other businesses.
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