Patong Beach Shops Engulfed in Fast-Moving Electrical Fire

Firefighters combat a huge fire Friday night near Phuket’s Patong beach.
Firefighters combat a huge fire Friday night near Phuket’s Patong beach.

PHUKET — An explosion near a popular Phuket beach ignited a huge fire last night that caused 60 million baht in damages.

Local police said the fire broke out before 8pm on Friday at Thaweewong Road near Patong beach, before quickly spreading. Eight fire trucks responded to the call and firefighters spent more than three hours controlling the blaze, which engulfed a 3-storey shophouse and several nearby shops. There are no reports of casualties.

Col. Anothai Jindamanee, Patong police chief, said Saturday that the preliminary investigation suggests a transformer shorted, leading the fire to spread via power lines to the shops. He added that they’re still investigating what caused the short in the first place.

The fire occurred at a time when the area, famous for its nightlife, would typically be busy. It caused huge commotion as tourists were out shopping or splashing water in celebration of the Songkran festival, which started early in Phuket.

Eye-witnesses, mostly shoppers, said they heard what sounded like an explosion before seeing sparks fall from power lines onto a shop below.