One hurt in inferno behind Marine Plaza hotel
The fire behind the Marine Plaza Hotel broke out around 11 p.m. March 10 with flames spreading quickly to adjacent structures. Several beer bars caught fire with two – Titanic Bar and Ann Ann – completely engulfed by the time 10 fire engines arrived to battle the blaze.
Several hair salons, beauty shops and restaurants across the street as well as 17 motorbikes parked in the fire zone also were damaged.
Two people were treated for smoke inhalation. Initial estimates figured the fire caused 6-7 million baht in damage.
The scene that played out on the popular shortcut to Walking Street resembled a Hollywood disaster film, with bar workers and tourists running for their lives.
Sakrin Kaokokruad, 28, said he was tending to customers at the Titanic Bar when he heard several explosions. He turned to see that a transformer had exploded and, before he knew it, everything around it was on fire.
Local workers tried to battle the flames with fire extinguishers, but the fire grew too quickly. It took firefighters about 30 minutes to get it under control.
Provincial Electricity Authority spokesman Prit Chancharoen said electricians had installed the transformer just the day before. He could offer no reason why it exploded, although faulty workmanship seems likely.
The explosion knocked out power to about 50 bars for the rest of Saturday night.
Banglamung District Chief Naris Niramaiwong noted this was not the first transformer explosion to hit the Walking Street area and called upon the PEA and other utilities to address the issue as it not only is a threat to people and property, but to the area’s tourism reputation.
Almost two years ago to the day, fire gutted the Blue Sky Rock bar on Walking Street after a squirrel shorted out the transformer. No one was injured in the 8 a.m. blaze. Naris, on that day, also called on the PEA to improve its transformers, noting Blue Sky was the third Walking Street transformer fire in recent years.