At least two dead as fire breaks out in Bangkok shopping centre during rush hour

A fire has broken out at a major shopping centre complex in Thailand's capital, killing at least two people and injuring more than a dozen, officials said.

The extent of the fire at Bangkok's Central World complex, which includes a hotel and an office tower, was small but it caused the shopping centre's evacuation, which was still going on at least an hour after the fire began.

The fire department said the blaze was extinguished but that smoke still needed to be released from several floors.

Firemen could be seen entering the building with masks and oxygen tanks.

Bangkok governor Assawin Kwanmuang initially told reporters that three people died, one at the scene and two at hospital.

He later said that two people were confirmed dead but did not explain the discrepancy.

The city's Erawan Emergency Radio network said 17 people were injured.

Thai media reported that at least one of the people who died had jumped from one of the complex's buildings.

Mr Assawin said the fire was believed to have started in a document storage room in one of the buildings that is part of the complex.

Video posted on social media soon after the fire began showed a person jumping from one of the complex's buildings.

Thai media reported that at least one of the people who died had jumped from a building.

Images on social media showed large flames raging out of what appeared to be a rear portion of the complex, and hundreds of evacuated shoppers filling a large open square next to the shopping centre.

Central World said in statements posted to its social media accounts that the fire broke out at around 5.40pm local time.

It said it immediately began evacuating people from the building and that firefighters brought the blaze under control within half an hour.

The fire broke out during the congested city's evening rush hour.

Sirens from emergency vehicles wailed as they tried to make their way through gridlocked traffic.

Central World sits at a major intersection surrounded by shopping complexes, shrines and high-rise hotels popular with foreign tourists.

It is near the main junction for Bangkok's elevated train lines, as well as the Erawan Shrine, which was the site of a deadly bombing in 2015.

The centre would typically have been busy with shoppers as well as diners heading to the many restaurants inside.

Central World was among several Bangkok buildings set on fire by arsonists during mass anti-government protests in 2010.

It is part of one of Thailand's best-known chains of shopping centres controlled by the Central Pattana property development company, which operates retail complexes across Bangkok and other parts of Thailand.

It in turn is a division of the family-owned Central Group holding company.

More on this topic

FIFA scraps plans for 48-team World Cup in Qatar

Venice In Oil: Banksy creates artwork for Biennale festival

Plants you can pop on your patio for summer

Corrie and Butterflies star Andrew Hall dies after short illness

More in this Section

Theresa May’s leadership under pressure after Brexit deal backlash from Tories

UK violating its human rights obligations, says UN poverty expert

Indonesia restricts social media as six killed in protest violence

Protesters clash with police after Indonesia election defeat


Lifestyle

Here’s how new parents can get more sleep, according to a Hollywood nanny

Everything you need to know about Binyavanga Wainaina’s work, as the Kenyan author dies

6 greener straws and stirrers for your drinks, as plastic versions are set to be band

These are the signs and symptoms of sepsis to be aware of

More From The Irish Examiner