NARATHIWAT: A total of 682 people have sued two fireworks traders and a construction contractor for damages of 300 million baht over the huge and fatal warehouse explosion in Sungai Kolok district in July.
Sixty-eight lawyers filed the civil lawsuit on behalf of the 682 plaintiffs at the Narathiwat Provincial Court on Tuesday.
It arises from the explosion at a warehouse in tambon Muno used to store fireworks on July 29 this year in which 11 people were killed, 389 injured and 649 houses and three schools damaged.
The warehouse owners, Sompong Nakul, 42, and his wife Piyanuch Puengwirawat, 42, were present at the court, along with Pathomporn Phromsakul, a construction contractor who built the shelves in the warehouse.
The respondents were kept in a separate room to prevent any confrontation with those plaintiffs who accompanied their lawyers.
The couple and the construction contractor already face criminal charges that include recklessness causing death, substandard construction causing death, illegally trading and importing fireworks, and making unauthorised alterations to a building.
The couple offered assets worth one million baht as security for release on bail. The court rejected their request.
Mr Sompong's lawyer, Lertsak Chotepanit, said the couple would do their best to pay compensation and had placed 1.1 million baht in cash with the court to help the families of the 11 people killed by the blast.
One of the lawyers for the plaintiffs, Olarn Kulwichit, said the two sides would initially discuss compensation at a meeting set for Feb 5 next year.
The explosion occurred around 3pm on July 29, reportedly during welding at the Weerawat Panit warehouse at the Muno market, a hub for cross-border trade in Sungai Kolok district, which adjoins Malaysia.
The godown was flattened and market stalls and hundreds of houses destroyed or damaged.