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MEA Checked Transformer 30 Minutes Before Explosion, Fire That Killed 2, Hurt 11

Bangkok Thailand Samphanthawong Chinatown Fire Sampeng -1

A fire that destroyed six shophouses in Bangkok’s Samphanthawong district killed two people and injured 11 more Sunday.

Chakkrawat police said the remains of cashier Jirapatch Summak, 52, and Myanmar national Petch Deum, 34, were found inside a three-story building near Sampeng Market on Ratchawong Road by Ratchawong Rungrueng, a company selling plastic, cotton bags and paper boxes.

The fire began after an electric transformer exploded near the building at 11:25 a.m. with flames jumping to the second floor of the building, where one body was found. The blaze quickly swept through the company’s stock of highly flammable products.

Bangkok Thailand Samphanthawong Chinatown Fire Sampeng -1

Firefighters from the Suan Mali station battled the flames for an hour before bringing it under control. A total of six shophouses burned down and 11 people, mostly volunteers fighting the fire, were injured.

Ratchawong Rungrueng owner Suchart Kittirudikul said it wasn’t the fisrst time the transformer exploded and that he had urged the Metropolitan Electricity Authority to check its equipment.

Ratchawong employee said the MEA visited the site Sunday about 30 minutes before the explosion.

Bangkok Thailand Samphanthawong Chinatown Fire Sampeng -1

Suchart initial estaimated damage at 10 million baht. He plans to sue the MEA.

Bangkok Gov. Chadchart Sittipunt said city hall will work with the MEA to check the quality of its cables and transformers in the area.

Bangkok Thailand Samphanthawong Chinatown Fire Sampeng -1