World

At least three dead in Bangkok shopping mall blaze

BANGKOK A fire broke out at the CentralWorld shopping complex yesterday, killing at least three people and injuring more than a dozen, the Bangkok Post reported.

One died at the scene, while another was pronounced dead at the hospital, AFP reported.

CentralWorld shopping mall and Centara Grand at CentralWorld hotel are situated in Bangkok's business district and are always crowded.

The CentralWorld management posted on its Facebook page that the fire started at about 5.40pm (4.40pm, Singapore time) in a smoke ventilation duct on the eighth storey of the shopping centre, which stands adjacent to Centara Grand at CentralWorld hotel on Rama I Road, close to the Ratchaprasong intersection in Pathumwan district.

The Nation reported that flames and smoke were visible from a distance, prompting many people to dash to the hotel's parking space in panic to get their cars out.

The Post quoted witnesses as saying that they saw two people jumping from the eighth storey.

Thick black smoke was seen billowing out and explosions were heard.

Both the hotel and the shopping centre were evacuated.

Initial reports said many people were trapped in the building.

The CentralWorld page said firefighters put out the blaze at 6.10pm, about half an hour after it started.

Bangkok governor Aswin Kwangmuang said the building was ordered closed.

The blaze caused heavy traffic jams in the vicinity as it occurred in the evening rush hour, reports said.

WORLD