Fire at Bangkok cinema complex put out

Fire at Bangkok cinema complex put out

Fire engulfs Major Cineplex Pinklao shortly before noon on Thursday. (Photo by Kitja Apichonrojarek)
Fire engulfs Major Cineplex Pinklao shortly before noon on Thursday. (Photo by Kitja Apichonrojarek)

Two people were slightly injured after a fire broke out at the multi-screen Major Cineplex Pinklao on Thursday morning. It was extinguished in the afternoon.

The fire started at cinema No.7 on the fourth floor of the building situated on Boromratchonnanee Road in Bang Phlat district around 11.30am. Up to 40 fire trucks and more than 100 fire officers raced to the scene.

Firefighters battled to bring the blaze under control as the flames were being fed by inflammable carpet flooring. Fire fighters called for special equipment as the fire was generating toxic gases. 

At one point firefighters were ordered out of the building after parts of the roof of the third and fourth storeys collapsed. 

Two people suffered minor cuts from broken glass. They were sent to hospital and later released.

Firefighters took over two hours to put out the fire. 

The building has its own fire extinguishing system but it failed to stop the flames from spreading rapidly. 

Assoc Prof Siriwat Chaichana, secretary general of Engineering Institute of Thailand, said a preliminary assessment found that the building's foundations and structure were still intact. The damaged parts were on the roof of the fourth storey while the walls on the third and fourth storeys could be repaired. 

A team from the institute and officials from the Department of Public Works and Town & Country Planning will inspect the building on Saturday morning to evaluate its safety and give recommendations to the owner on repairs, which could take at least four months.

Officials from Bang Phlat district office have put up signs declaring the compound as a dangerous area and off-limits to unauthorised persons. The entire complex is shut for seven days to allow for an inspection of its structure.

Pol Lt Col Nachpijak Rungsawarng, an inspector at Bang Phlat police station, said the cause of the fire is not yet known and an assessment of the damage is still to be made. 

Forensic police along with Suchatvee Suwansawat, the president of the Engineering Institute of Thailand, will examine the scene on Friday morning.

Kannikar Sangprasert  director of Bang Phlat district office, said a preliminary examination indicated the fire could have been caused by a short circuit in an electrical sign. The sign caught fire and dripped flames onto the carpet flooring, resulting in the fire being spread quickly.

The Major Cineplex Group issued a statement urging its customers to watch movies at its Central Pinklao branch on the opposite side of the Pinklao branch.

The 16-screen Major Pinklao is the first cinema complex built by Major Cineplex Group owned by the Poolvaraluck family in 1995. The site was formerly Welco Department Store, also a family business. Welco was burned down in a fire in 1993.

The group has 91 branches under 12 brands, totalling 601 screens, of which 589 are at 89 branches in Thailand and 12 at two branches located abroad. 

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