The owner of the Mountain B bar, that exploded into fire on Friday night, killing at least 15, has now been arrested and detained after reporting to police last night. He has confessed to all charges.
The 27 year old Thai man reported to the Phlu Ta Luang police. Thai media were alerted to his reporting to the station but the man was escorted to a private room where he was processed and formerly charged.
13 people died during the immediate aftermath of the fire, and another 2 have died of their injuries since. Another 38 people were injured, some seriously, and some remain on ventilators with the death expected to rise in coming days. The fire went up in the Mountain Bar & Bistro around 12.25am in the Sattahip district, south of Pattaya.
Video showedp plumes of thick acrid smoke pouring out of the front door and people, many covered in flames, running for their lives out of the venue. There appears to have been two explosions during the height of the fire. There were only two exits from the venue and the rear exit, behind the sound stage, is understood to have been blocked.
Around 100 people were inside the venue at the time of the incident.
The venue had only been open for about 2 month2 as was a popular location for young Thais. All the victims were Thai.
Emergency responders took more than 2 hours to completely control the blaze with around 20 fire trucks attending from the Sawang Rojan Foundation Sattahip Rescue Unit. Much of the inside of the building was coated with acoustic foam which added fuel to the fire and also caused toxic fumes.
Many of the dead were found near the venue’s entrance and inside the venues toilets, trying to escape.
The incident follows many similar incidents with unregistered, unsafe, ill-equipped night venues – essentially huge, cheaply built ‘barns’ with a fancy frontages, neon signs and parking.
The worst of these nightclub incidents was the Santika Club fire which happened during new year celebrations in Ekkamai, an upscale part of Bangkok, in the first hour of 2009.
A total of 66 people were killed and another 222 injured when fire swept through that venue. Coincidentally the band playing at the time was called “Burn”and ironically the name of the event was “Santika’s Last Night”. The fire broke out at half past midnight and people from 13 countries were amongst the injured.
Again, waterproofing black tar, styrofoam and acoustic foam were all part of the problem, allowing the fire to spread quickly.
And, again, a lack of exits was the main problem. In the case of the Santiago Club, there was only one main exit available at the time.
There was also another similar fire at the Tiger Disco in Bangla Road, Patong, Phuket, in 2012, almost 10 years to the day of the Mountain B fire. 4 people died in that incident, including a British and French tourist.
WARNING: Contains graphic footage…
Watch video of the Mountain B incident HERE.