Vacate order issued after wall collapse

Vacate order issued after wall collapse

Residents in 117 apartments in this 34-year-old old building near the Pracha Niwet Market 1 in Chatuchak district were startled but unhurt when their front facade collapsed. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Residents in 117 apartments in this 34-year-old old building near the Pracha Niwet Market 1 in Chatuchak district were startled but unhurt when their front facade collapsed. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

The tenants of 19 buildings near Pracha Niwet Market 1 in Chatuchak district were told to vacate after concrete awnings of one of the buildings collapsed on Wednesday, There were no reported injuries but the building suffered extensive damage.

Chaiyanut Jetiyanuwat, Bangkok Market Office director, said Thursday the office has given notice to all tenants, saying they must vacate the old buildings near Pracha Niwet Market 1 as soon as possible.

There are a total of 117 rooms in the 19 buildings which were built in 1982 on a 10-rai plot of land. The Bangkok Market Office owns the buildings and had leased them out, he said.

On Wednesday, the awnings of one building collapsed, damaging eight motorcycles parked under the structure. No injuries were reported.

Before the collapse on Wednesday, Mr Chaiyanut said the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration hired a team of engineers from Mahidol University to assess the condition and strength of the buildings to determine if they should be repaired or torn down.

Most of the buildings appear to be in a rundown state.

The engineering team found that the buildings were not safe to live in as the structures were in disrepair, Mr Chaiyanut said.

Experts who carried out the assessment agreed the buildings should be demolished, he added.

As the BMA was seeking to hire a company to carry out the demolition work following the experts' suggestion, it decided not to renew tenants' leases in February last year. However, some of the tenants decided not to vacate.

Mr Chaiyanut said the office invited the remaining occupants to a meeting Thursday at the Gold Market near the buildings to discuss when they can move out.

Earlier, authorities had held talks with the tenants to inform them of the need to demolish the buildings but some of the tenants continued to insist they would stay, he added.

Mr Chaiyanut said his office lodged police complaints against the tenants who had defied orders to vacate the buildings.

Police have taken up the investigation.

Speaking Thursday during an inspection of the collapsed building, Chaowarit Songnawarat, chief of Chatuchak district office, said an initial inspection found the concrete walls were partially damaged and the buildings were structurally weak.

Siriwat Chaichana, of the Engineering Institute of Thailand, who also took part in the inspection, said the collapse was caused by increased weight due to rainwater accumulating on the awnings.

Mr Chaowarit urged tenants who have been affected by the building collapse to register with authorities to receive compensation.

Each tenant is eligible for 3,000 baht.

A makeshift tent was set up near the buildings to provide assistance to those affected by the collapse, he said.

Officials at the Bangkok Market Office are working on the issuance of demolition documents following the BMA's order, Mr Chaowarit added.

He said experts will be called to examine the leases held by the tenants and the findings will be used in the police investigation against the tenants.

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