Muze denies all amid suspicion Pattaya club lacked fire-safety system

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Suralak Rodpai, general manager of the Muze Club, tells reporters “Muze Club met all standards and had a secure safety system.”
Suralak Rodpai, general manager of the Muze Club, tells reporters “Muze Club met all standards and had a secure safety system.”

Management of a Pattaya disco destroyed by a fire supposedly ignited by a spark during a welding job denied contractors were working in the building before the blaze, even though a welder was arrested.

Suralak Rodpai, general manager of the Muze Club, made the claim to reporters June 13 even as Pattaya police said they charged Eneak Thannondaeng, 33, with careless workmanship while welding a door near the entrance of the Phettrakul Road club that catered to Thais.

“There weren’t any contractors doing anything in the club before the fire broke out. There were only several regular employees who were obviously mistaken as contractors preparing for opening,” she said.

Suntorn Somprachai, director of the Pattaya Engineering Department, said a Chonburi forensics team is now investigating whether Muze even had sprinkler and fire-safety equipment to begin with, an assertion Suralak hotly contested.

“Muze Club met all standards and had a secure safety system,” she said.

Insurance payouts likely are the reason behind the wildly conflicting accounts of who was working inside Muze and whether a fire-protection system was installed to protect the hundreds of partiers who crammed into the dance club nightly.

Four of five people in the club at the time suffered smoke inhalation when flames raged through the pub June 12. It’s believed Eneak’s welding torch set alight sound-insulation foam in the ceiling and the flames spread quickly.

The 300-sq.-meter building was declared a total loss. The damage estimate was raised to 20 million baht.

Like too many entertainment venues in Thailand, Muze had only one main entrance and exit. If results of the investigation – which will not be released for 45 days – do reveal there were no sprinklers or fire-protection equipment, it will one more example of regulatory officials looking the other way as an obvious fire trap opened as a big-money nightclub.