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4 killed, dozen injured in Phuket pub fire


15:32, August 17, 2012

BANGKOK, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- A massive fire ripped through a disco pub on Thailand's southern resort island Phuket early Friday, killing four people, believed to be foreign tourists, and injuring dozens, officials said.

The blaze broke out around 3:55 a.m. local time on the second floor of the Tiger Pub on the island's popular western Patong beach, which was then still filled with Thai and foreign tourists.

It took about an hour for the firefighters to put the blaze under control. Early reports said four bodies retrieved from the smoldering wreckage were burnt beyond recognition.

Workers of a local hospital said they received more than 20 injured people, including both Thais and foreigners. Most of them are suffering from suffocation and two are in critical condition.

No Chinese citizen is among the injured, Wu Xiufeng, an official at the Chinese Consulate in Songkla told Xinhua by telephone. "But the four bodies were burnt and deformed and their identities can only be confirmed by pending DNA tests," he added.

Phuket Deputy Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada said the authorities believed the victims are foreign tourists but it is not yet confirmed. He said the fire was probably caused by lightning which struck a transformer.

The incident reminds many of the 2009 New Year pub fire in the capital Bangkok, which left more than 60 people dead, including five foreign tourists. The pub owner was convicted of gross negligence last year and sentenced to three years in prison.
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