Fire at Bangkok’s Chatuchak market kills hundreds of animals

The blaze started about 4 a.m. inside an area home to 118 pet stores, according to police.
Ruj Chuenban
Fire at Bangkok’s Chatuchak market kills hundreds of animals A firefighter holds an injured bird after a fire destroyed hundreds of pet shops at the Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok, June 11, 2024.
Panumas Sanguanwong-Thai News Pix/BenarNews

A massive fire tore through the pet zone of the famous Chatuchak Weekend Market in the Thai capital on Tuesday, devastating dozens of shops and killing hundreds of caged animals, authorities said. 

The blaze started about 4 a.m. inside the Sri Somrat market, an area that contained 118 stores selling a variety of pets and ornamental fish, according to police. It took firefighters about an hour to bring it under control.

There were no reports of human casualties, but fire officials estimated about one thousand animals died.

“The victims were all pets,” said Bangkok Gov. Chadchart Sittipunt, who visited the scene on Tuesday. “The fire is now under control, so we need to take care of the remaining animals and properly compile a list of the affected individuals.”

One pet vendor, who owned a reptile shop called “Snake Lovers,” said she had lost all of her animals.

“Our shop had snakes, lizards, turtles and geckos, including rare species,” said the woman named Natthanicha, who spoke to BenarNews outside her burned-out store. 

“The snakes ranged in price from 2,000 baht (U.S. $57) to 60,000 baht ($1,700). We had about 400 snakes in total, with only three surviving but bearing burn marks. 

“I don’t know how we will live after this,” she said, adding she estimated damage to be about 5 million baht ($142,000). 

Natthanicha (right), the owner of a business named “Snake Lovers,” inspects her shop after the fire on June 11, 2024. She estimates damage to be 5 million baht ($142,000). [Panumas Sanguanwong-Thai News Pix/BenarNews]

Chatuchak market, home to some 5,000 stalls that sprawl over more than 35 acres (14 hectares), is a huge tourist draw and beloved by locals in Bangkok.

Patkorn Sinsuk, director of the Chatuchak District Office, said initial inspections revealed damage to the market spans more than 900 square meters (9,687 square feet)

“It is not advisable to enter the fire-damaged building at this time due to the risk of structural collapse. Relevant agencies are already providing assistance,” he told the media.

After filing a police report, Patkorn said, affected shop owners would be eligible for an initial compensation payment of up to 10,400 baht ($295) from the State Railway of Thailand, which owns the land.

Forensic experts from Bang Sue Police Station are still investigating the cause of the fire. Police said they had been told by the market’s security team the fire was first reported in a pet shop selling dogs.


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