Opinion – Govt. and Bangkok city needs to come out with measures to prevent more of Mountain B and Zantika disaster

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Earlier today another fire broke out in yet another bar and claimed the lives of more than a dozen night pub revelers who were partying as the country opens its doors to foreign tourists.

The fire that engulfed ‘Mountain B’ bar in Sattahip, east of Bangkok, occurred at around 01:25 hrs. this morning and so far, has claimed as many as 13 lives with more than 40 people injured. The cause of the fire is yet to be determined but what is known is the fact that there was only 1 exit/entry door and the materials used in the bar/pub was highly inflammable.

The incident’s details will be known over the coming days and months after 2014 coup leader and incumbent Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha ordered an official investigation into the incident.

This is not the 1st fire to break out in a bar/pub in Thailand. There have been over the years many such incidents and the sheer crowd that gathers in these venues makes them bars/pubs a hot spot for fatalities.

The incident in Sattahip at this newly opened bar/pub is likely to be forgotten over the next couple of months, like all other previous incidents, but it sure will leave another scar on the night entertainment industry in Thailand’s face.

Those confirmed dead in the latest incident were people in their prime age with the youngest so far is 19-year-old girl, while the 12 others range from 20 to 35 years of age.

One Exit/Entry Point

The ‘Mountain B’ pub/bar reportedly only had one point for exit/entry and that caused the problem as many of the dead were unable to escape. Gruesome pictures of some of the victims embracing each other as they were burnt to death, others had escaped to the toilet to save themselves.

The problems of 1-exit/entrance are not an uncommon practice in Thailand. On December 31 and into the wee hours of January 1, 2009, a bar/pub in Ekkamai – Zantika, was burnt down where 67 people had died in similar manner and more than 225 were injured.\

Channel 3 shows the supposedly exit door of Mountain B that burnt down earlier this morning

The media raised this issue and again like all other things in Thailand, a few months later the issue went quiet.

On June 7th 2022, a small fire broke out at DJ Station, Bangkok’s gay haven located in Silom Soi 2 and the then newly appointed Bangkok Governor – Chadchart Sittipunt, visited the venue on June 8th to see the damages and what can be done.

During the visit Chadchart instructed the venue to have more precautions and to have more fire exits but 2-months later, DJ Station is back fully operational – but still lacks the 2nd exit and entry point.

The entry to the Silom Soi 2 is via a small alley and with 100s if not 1,000s of people raveling in the few bars located in the soi, any incident of fire would not just kill people due to the fire but a lot more would die due to stampede that may follow the outbreak of the fire.

How much progress has been made since Chadchart visited the venue?

Well, the answer is a big ‘ZERO’.

Questions raised to Chadchart by Thai Enquirer were unanswered although he read the messages sent to him.

Chadchart later in day came out to make a statement. Click on the link to read the story

(CLICK) – https://www.thaienquirer.com/42442/bangkok-will-step-up-fire-inspection-at-all-entertainment-venues-in-the-capital-chadchart-said/

Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt

Disaster Waiting to Happen

Zantika, Mountain B, and DJ Station are all but the tip of the iceberg of what is wrong with Thailand’s night entertainment industry.

Thailand’s night entertainment industry was famous for its drug abuse and brawls, and if one remembers well killings – remember the killing of Police Sgt. Maj. Suwichai Rodwimud by Duangchalerm Yubamrung, the youngest son of maverick politician – Chalerm Yubamrung? The shooting at point-blank range killed Suwichai who was trying to stop a fight between Duangchalerm and his colleague.

The use of highly inflammable materials, lack of clear signs of exit, lack of fire fighting equipment, carrying of arms and open sale of drugs are all basic ingredients for a recipe for disaster.

A look at any pubs/bars around Bangkok would show that the basic requirements for opening a pub/bar and safety measures are not present in most venues.

Bangkok Governor – Chadchart, should follow up on his instructions to the pubs to have at least 2 exits and Gen. Prayut should not set up yet another committee to study the reasons for the disaster that happened but instead should look at ways to come up with rules that enforces that basic safety measures are in place for the safety of the people of Thailand and the tourists who are starting to just return to Thailand after 2-years of Covid-19 induced halt of the tourism industry.


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