7.15 PM.. busy evening at Soi market..cars, motorbikes and pedestrians carry on their everyday life. Then approximately 7.20 PM as i was enjoying some food with my girlfriend across from the Market, I was startled and surprised to hear a crack followed by a very loud bang, as the side of Family Mart just seem to just fall away to the street below. A concrete balcony comes crashing down narrowly missing the market workers that were packing up for the night. There was probably 20 people in between Family Mart and the market at the time (motorbike taxis and market workers) and it would’ve crushed all of them …So i am so shocked that there was no casualties.
Soi Buakhao, as many people know is quite loud and very busy a times. So normally I ignore a lot of noises that i would normally hear in this neighbourhood, but the sound of that balcony crashing got me right up and out of the chair. Another person who was sitting in my near said the incident was “loud, really loud. However, as a foreigner, i was equally surprised to see how calm and collected everyone was about the situation, they all just seemed to go into survival mode, and everyone worked together to help prop up the remains of what was left of the balcony and start clearing up what had already fallen down.
I have heard that the apartments above the Family Mart were previously used for massaging but has recently been sold off and been newly refurbished as normal apartments. Was it deterioration of steel bolts caused by the sheer bad weather or just poor maintenance that lead to the balcony’s structural integrity ..who knows. Family Mart was closed very soon after as the falling balcony had also ripped out or disturbed their electrics, so they had to cease trading for the night. About 9 PM I was startled yet again when more of the remains to the balcony also started to fall, however only a small amount in comparison to before.
Stay tuned to Pattayaone as tomorrow i will go out and hold interviews with staff from Family Mart that were working and other persons who had witnessed tonight’s event.