At least 13 people have been killed and 41 others injured after a fire broke out at a nightclub in southeastern Thailand’s Chonburi province.
Police said the fire broke out at Mountain Bee nightspot in Sattahip district at 01:00 local time on Friday (18:00 GMT on Thursday). Online footage showed people screaming and running away from the club, some taking off their clothes.
Rescuers say flammable material on the walls may have fueled the fire. The site, in Chonburi, a province 150 km (90 mi) south of Bangkok, was a one-storey complex measuring 4,800 square meters (51,660 sq ft).
Local media said it took firefighters more than two hours to douse the blaze. The victims’ bodies – four women and nine men – were found mostly near the entrance and in the bathrooms. Others were found near the DJ booth.
All those killed so far are believed to be Thai citizens.
The exact cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained. However, officials from the Sawang Roznathammasthan Rescue Foundation said that the flammable acoustic foam on the walls of the club may have accelerated the speed at which the fire entered the venue.
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha said on Friday that families of the victims would receive aid from authorities and urged entertainment venues nationwide to ensure they had proper emergency exits and safety measures in place.
This is not the first time a deadly fire has erupted in a Thai nightclub.
In 2009, more than 60 people died in Bangkok after a fire spread at the Santika Club in the early hours of New Year’s Day. Two men, including the club owner, were jailed in 2011.
And a fire at a nightclub in the popular Thai tourist destination of Phuket in 2012 killed four people and injured about a dozen others.