Fire damaged Bangkok building needs urgent attention
The third floor of a five-storey toy-storage building in Bangkok’s Samphanthawong district that caught fire on Monday was severely damaged and would need urgent repairs during its 30-day obligatory closure, district office director Sombat Kanokthipwan said on Tuesday.
The cause of the fire, in which a fire fighter was injured, was initially suspected to be a short circuit on the ground floor, but a forensic-police source said the final cause should be known within 15 days.
A smell of burnt plastic was still lingering in the air around the building on Tuesday. Bangkok City deputy governor Chakkaphan Phiewngam has asked Engineering Institute of Thailand (EIT) secretary-general Thanes Weerasiri and his engineering team to carry out a structural inspection of the building, which has been sealed for 30 days as per an order from the district office director. Thanes initially said the 50-year-old reinforced concrete building could withstand fire for at least two hours, up to four or five hours.
He said his team was there to check heat and fire residue within the structure. They found that the third floor had cracks all over the concrete floor, although its beams and pillars seemed to be intact, while the fourth and fifth floors were in usable condition.
The team’s initial inspection of nearby buildings found that they were not affected, although a further investigation would be conducted as a safety precaution, he added. On Monday, it took 100 firefighters working from 20 engines about three hours to bring the blaze, which started before 3pm, under control.
Chakkawat precinct deputy superintendent Pol Lt-Colonel Suroyamet Pakdeewiwat said police had already interviewed the building owner, Napapat Chulalertmanee, 43, and had questioned some witnesses. Police were still investigating the cause of the fire and the damage was still being assessed as of press time.