Pets in Chatuchak Market Need Help After Fire Kills Hundreds of Them

Thailand's worst fire for pets occurred at 4:30 a.m. on June 11, at Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok.

BANGKOK —  “It’s heartbreaking. I never thought that we would see not only people as victims, but this time it’s the adorable pets. I don’t even want to look at the dogs that died because they were trapped in cages and couldn’t escape,” said Mr. Chadchart Sittipunt, Bangkok Governor, after inspecting the damage at Chatuchak Weekend Market, which caught fire before dawn on Tuesday.

Thailand’s worst fire for pets occurred at 4:30 a.m. on June 11. Most pet shop owners were away and unable to save their animals in time. All 118 units at the Sri Samrat Market, a center for pets and ornamental fish in Chatuchak completely burned down.

It took one hour to control the fire, and police suspected an electrical short-circuit as the cause of the fire.

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Chadchart Sittipunt, Bangkok Governor, inspects the damage at Chatuchak Weekend Market, which caught fire before dawn on Tuesday.

There are no reports of human casualties, but the fire killed hundreds pets and exotic animals perished. Among those killed were many puppies such as poodles, Pomeranians, and Shih Tzus, as well as cats, monkeys, exotic birds including cockatoos, and fish. 


In the afternoon while the officials were inspecting the scene, reporters noticed that there was one surviving chicken sitting glumly in a cage at a shop that had been burned down, while all the other chickens had died. They informed the officials, who then brought metal cutting equipment to cut the lock and open the door to finally rescue the chicken.

A Thai rescuer carries a survived chicken from a fire at Chatuchak Weekend Market, one of the most famous markets in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, June 11, 2024. Hundreds of caged animals died Tuesday after the fire struck the market in Thailand’s capital. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Reporters also noticed that there was still a smell of smoke, and they heard the sound of building debris collapsing more than three times from morning until noon.

Mr. Chadchart said he had asked the State Railway of Thailand, the owner of the market’s land, to arrange a space for selling animals to relocate the surviving animals, such as fighting cocks, rabbits, hamsters, and snakes, as well as to provide electricity so that shops selling ornamental fish can have oxygen to keep the fish alive.

According to Ms. Mee Cha Lae Chae, 36, an employee at one of the shops, she was sleeping on the mezzanine above the shop, guarding rare birds, when she suddenly heard various pets making loud noises and the area was filled with smoke, making it difficult to breathe. She had to climb out the window and jump down from the upper floor to escape. The most expensive rare bird in the shop was a Pitta bird, priced at 30,000 baht. 


Mr. Sakda Banphachulchinda, 54, owner of TK Farm shop, said his shop is located across from the incident site and sells various exotic animals imported from abroad, ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of baht each, with a total value of tens of millions of baht in the shop. Fortunately, his shop was not affected by the fire. The market where the incident occurred sells similar animal products.

He said the fire started from a corner shop on the road that sells birds, which currently sells small dog breeds such as Poodles, Shih Tzus, and Pomeranians. The shop is run by the owner without any employees. At night, they leave fans on for the dogs all night long. It is suspected that an electrical short circuit caused the incident.

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Initially, the Chatuchak District Office has set up a table for shop owners to register and assess the damage value of each shop. They are also waiting for officers from the Forensic Science Division to come and investigate the cause of the fire.

Mrs. Patkorn Sinsuk, Director of Chatuchak District, stated that the Bang Sue Police Station, along with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), the State Railway of Thailand (SRT), the Chatuchak District Office, and other relevant agencies, have come to provide assistance to the affected vendors.

As for the initial compensation for the victims, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration will provide 11,400 baht per operator. Regarding the preparation of a new area for the vendors, it is the responsibility of the SRT, which is currently in the process of making arrangements.


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As for the cause of the fire, the police forensic team is still at the scene, and it is not yet known where the point of origin was. Initially, no one is allowed to enter the area because there is still a risk of building collapse.

According to the Associated Press report, Chatuchak weekend market is a major tourist draw, bringing in shoppers from all over the world to browse its hundreds of shops and stalls for items ranging from food and drink to clothing, furniture, plants, books and pets.

Wildlife organizations have often accused some vendors of involvement in the trafficking of rare and endangered species, such as turtles, tortoises and birds.

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