Panic on Walking Street as exploding transformer causes inferno

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Beer bars near Walking Street are engulfed in flames after a fire broke out in Marine Plaza, Saturday, March 10.
Beer bars near Walking Street are engulfed in flames after a fire broke out in Marine Plaza, Saturday, March 10.

Emergency response crews were dispatched rapidly after several explosions were heard near the Marine Plaza in south Pattaya on Saturday evening, March 10.

Pol. Cap. Kewleesiri Pasukthanapaisarn, deputy chief investigator at Pattaya police headquarters was alerted to the situation before reports were forwarded on to Police Chief Appichai Kroppech, the Fire Department and the PEA.

Ten fire trucks were rushed to the scene where a massive inferno had broken out in a highly populated area, close to the tourist hotspot of Walking Street. The flames spread rapidly and caught onto several bars behind the Marine Plaza, causing massive damage to interiors, furniture and even motorbikes parked in the area. Tourists and bar workers were seen to panic and run for their lives and it took about 30 minutes until authorities gained control of the blaze.

There were no reports of any serious casualties but one person suffered minor injuries and smoke inhalation. Two beer bars were completely engulfed during the blaze, a building across the street sustained major damage and a total of 17 motorbikes were destroyed.

Sakrin Kaokokruad, 28, a staff member at the Titanic Bar told authorities he heard several loud bangs, which later turned out to be the faulty electricity transformer that had exploded, and before he knew it everything around him was on fire. He called the police immediately and evacuated customers out of the bar. Some staff stayed behind to try and put the fire out with extinguishers before the fire fighters arrived but they were unsuccessful. The damage caused by the fire was estimated at around 6-7 million baht.

Tourists and bar staff take shelter in a nearby convenience store after being evacuated from the affected area.
Tourists and bar staff take shelter in a nearby convenience store after being evacuated from the affected area.

Prit Chancharoen, a representative from the PEA, stated that electricians had been in the area on Friday (March 9) to replace the transformer, as the original one was damaged but he was uncertain as to why the new unit had exploded. A full forensic investigation will be launched as soon as possible and electricity to nearby bars and businesses will be offline for the time being.

Motorbikes parked nearby go up in flames as the fire spread rapidly.
Motorbikes parked nearby go up in flames as the fire spread rapidly.
Emergency response units were on the scene quickly but it took 10 fire trucks and crews 30 minutes to extinguish the blaze.
Emergency response units were on the scene quickly but it took 10 fire trucks and crews 30 minutes to extinguish the blaze.

  • Fred Flinstone

    Electrical transformers explode constantly in Thailand. I don’t know where they get them, but a change in supplying company would be a great start. The one outside my condo has blown out three times in three years. Anyone care for a walk?

  • Ken Anderson

    Unfortunately nothing will be learned from this. The transformer to my village explodes virtually every year, and usually at around the same time. Something tells me that rather than coincidence, this could be due to overloading with more people using aircon than normal during the hot period. Unfortunately it is only ever replaced with the same transformer, rather than an upgraded one that might be up to the job.
    Just waiting over the coming few weeks for the next big bang and another very hot and sweaty night.

  • cdnski12

    OOPPS!! The crew that installed the new Transformer probably have been sent off on Annual Holiday! Electrical Problems are endemic in S/E Asia. I saw a an Electrical Fire in a transformer outside my Hotel Window on Pattaya Beach Road in 2015. Amazingly; my hotel didn’t loose power.