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Blaze At Renowned Bangkok Market Claims Lives Of 1000 Animals

Blaze At Renowned Bangkok Market Results As Death Of 1,000 Animals

A fire at Bangkok’s well-known Chatuchak market early Tuesday morning resulted in the deaths of approximately 1,000 animals and the destruction of nearly 100 shops. The blaze, caused by an electrical short circuit, claimed the lives of birds, dogs, cats, snakes, rats, pythons, and geckos, all trapped in their cages in the pet zone. Fortunately, there were no human casualties or injuries reported.

The incident has sparked renewed calls for the closure of the pet zone, which has long been criticized for poor living conditions leading to high rates of disease and death among the animals. Chatuchak market, one of Southeast Asia’s largest markets, hosts tens of thousands of shops and draws nearly 200,000 tourists every weekend. The pet section, however, operates throughout the week, comprising about four of the market’s 27 sections, and is a frequent subject of controversy and inspections.

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Shop owner Amporn Wannasut, who sold turtles, pythons, and king snakes, was devastated upon arriving at the scene. “Everything was gone, all burned down,” she lamented. “I couldn’t do anything because it was dark inside. I couldn’t help them at all. They were all gone.” At 42 years old, she faces the daunting task of starting over, uncertain of her next steps. She froze some of the dead snakes to assess the financial loss.

A preliminary inspection revealed that the blaze damaged most of the 118 shops in the pet zone, which spans approximately 1,400 square meters (15,000 square feet). When the team arrives at the market on Tuesday afternoon, shop owners were lined up to request compensation, many appearing distraught and some in tears. Meanwhile, individuals were seen taking selfies in front of the destroyed shops despite police warnings about the unstable structures potentially collapsing.

A shop owner named Meecha recounted her narrow escape to the online news outlet Thaiger. Awakened by the animals’ cries from the loft above her shop, she was quickly engulfed in thick smoke, making it hard to breathe. She managed to climb out through a window to safety. While some shop owners reside at the market, it is unclear how many were present during the blaze.

The Chatuchak District Office reported that the blaze started around 04:10 local time on Tuesday (21:10 GMT on Monday) and was extinguished 30 minutes later. Online photos showed extensive damage, with large sections engulfed in flames and cages deformed and charred.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) highlighted the fire as a call for urgent action. PETA’s senior vice-president, Jason Baker, emphasized that animals should not be used for entertainment and urged the Thai government to ensure the facility remains closed.

The Wildlife Friends Foundation in Thailand labeled Chatuchak market as a “shame on Bangkok.” The foundation’s director, Edwin Wiek, condemned the illegal smuggling and poor conditions of the animals, calling for the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to end this senseless cruelty.