Tourist Hotspot Yaowarat Hit by Major Fire, Possible Electrical Cause

A forensic official photographs the fire-damaged area of the Trok Pho community in Yaowarat on July 7, 2024.

BANGKOK —  The fire incident in the Trok Pho community of Yaowarat occurred on Saturday evening, at a time when Yaowarat was being promoted for tourism and culture, having recently appeared as a backdrop in the music video for “ROCKSTAR,” a solo work by Lisa Manoban, a Thai K-pop superstar.

A house fire broke out in the Trok Pho community on Yaowarat Road, Bangkok, at 8:40 p.m. on July 6. The police have temporarily closed off traffic from Chalerm Buri Intersection to the Odeon Circle. It then took over three hours to control the fire, with no fatalities reported.



Initially, fire trucks from the Bang Rak Fire and Rescue Station could not access the area due to the narrow alley. They then coordinated with disaster relief units from neighboring areas to help contain the incident using smaller water trucks and by walking in while dragging water hoses instead.

The fire spread to the rear of commercial buildings facing Yaowarat Road, including the New Empire Hotel. At 9:40 p.m., officials successfully evacuated those trapped inside the New Empire Hotel.

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A combination of images of the fire incident site in the Trok Pho community of Yaowarat on Saturday night, July 6, showing the damage and the charred condition on July 7, 2024.

At 10:30 p.m., officials managed to contain the fire within a limited area. The flames were now confined to the Trok Pho community area only. Officials continued to use water to prevent the fire from spreading further.

At 11:30 p.m., officials had managed to contain the fire within a limited area. They needed to continue spraying water throughout the night.

On Sunday morning, the government spokesperson revealed that Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin had been closely monitoring the situation and had ordered fire extinguishing efforts, assistance for those stranded, and directed all relevant agencies to help those affected. Once the fire was under control, he ordered an assessment of the needs of the local people and continuous care for the health and safety of those injured and in the affected area.

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Officials reported that approximately 50 households in the community were being thoroughly checked and registered with Samphanthawong district officers. Initially, 245 people had registered as affected, while two injured firefighters were now safe, with one who had suffered an electric shock being kept for more one night observation.

The damage to buildings and property was still being assessed and evaluated. Forensic officers were examining the scene to gather evidence to determine the cause of the fire.

According to the testimony of Phaisan Charoen Bun-ma, a municipal officer from Samphanthawong District Office and the first eyewitness, he heard loud “boom boom boom” sounds similar to electrical transformer explosions coming from the incident site.

The houses in the Trok Pho community are constructed of semi-wooden concrete, with only two entrances and exits, surrounded by hotels and tall buildings. This community covers an area of approximately 1.8 rai (about 0.7 acres) and has about 63 households. Approximately 60-70% of the houses were damaged by this fire. Among the residents in this area, 90% are tenants, and 10% are homeowners.

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The damage of the Trok Pho community in Yaowarat on July 7, 2024, after a major fire on Saturday night.

Police Lieutenant General Trairong Phiwphan, Commander of the Office of Legal Affairs and Litigation of the Royal Thai Police, revealed after inspecting the fire scene at Trok Pho community, Yaowarat Road, Samphanthawong District, Bangkok, for more than an hour: The investigation team has narrowed down their speculation and scope of the fire’s origin. They have also interviewed witnesses, including tourists who captured video clips.

The area in question is where the fire was most intense, with the most damage. However, due to the weak structure and a large amount of debris, further inspection is needed.

“At this point, we cannot determine whether it was an accident or negligence, as we are still speculating about the fire’s origin. We need to wait for further inspection because there are still 3-5 houses that we cannot access. Today, we have only managed to narrow down the area of the fire’s origin,” said Police Lieutenant General Trairong.



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More images of the fire and damage at Bangkok’s Chinatown last night.