CentralWorld: Bangkok Shopping Complex Caught Fire, 2 Dead

Central World Complex
(Photo: REUTERS/ Soe Zeya Tun)

Bangkok's CentralWorld shopping complex has been hit with fire this week. It was reported that at least two people have died from the blaze after jumping or falling from the building.

According to BBC News, Mr. Pinit Arayasilapathorn, the director of Pathum Wan district, said the fire started at around 5:40 p.m. in the complex's eight-floor of the 56-story hotel. The Erawan Medical Centre confirmed on Thursday that two people have perished and 20 others were injured. The shopping mall, the Centara Grand, is part of the CentralWorld Hotel so it was also evacuated at the height of the blaze.

The fatality was identified as the 41-year-old Arthit Khamsai, staff in the mall. He jumped out from the fourth floor of the building and pronounced dead at Chulalongkorn Hospital. Sakchai Chalernlarp, 37, also jumped from the burning structure and died later while being treated at a medical facility.

Six out of the 20 injured people were already released from the hospital while the others remained for more observation. Most of them suffered from smoke inhalation but expected to be discharged soon as well, The Straits Times reported. 

The total damages to the shopping mall and hotel have yet to be estimated but it appears to be minimal as the officials of the complex relayed that the building is safe to open again after some cleaning up. Thus, the complex will be back to business, as usual, today, April 12.

On the other hand, Labor Minister Adul Sangsingkaew stated that the government will compensate the families of the two people who died. The family of Chalernlarp will be allocated 1.42 million in Thai Baht while the family of Kamsai will get 1.39 million Baht. The families will receive the amount next week. As for the medical expenses of the injured, the Social Security Office will shoulder the costs.

Incidentally, engineering experts revealed that based on their inspection and assessment, the fire was caused by the dry sediment in the wastewater facility located in a defective 16-story back-office building, as per the Bangkok Post.  

"A material that caught fire was dry waste sediment. Fire from it could be as hot as 800 degrees Celsius," the deputy director for disaster prevention and mitigation of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, Teerayut Pumisak, said via press conference that was held in front of the CentralWorld

Meanwhile, the secretary-general of the Engineering Institute of Thailand, Pichaya Chantranuwat, admitted that experts have yet to locate the exact place where the fire broke out. They will check the old back-office again and pinpoint where the fire started. 

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