Bangkok home collapses after fire; three dead, several trapped

BANGKOK (AP) — At least three people were killed after a three-storey house in Bangkok collapsed yesterday following a fire, leaving an unknown number of people still trapped under the rubble, local police said.

Two of the fatalities were volunteer rescue workers who were helping to put out the fire and the third person lived in the residence, said police Corporal Kamolpoo Khaokaew. A few other people including rescue workers were trapped under the building after it collapsed and efforts were underway to reach them.

“I believe that there might be people trapped inside who are alive,” Bangkok governor Asawin Kwanmuang told media.

But he said rescue efforts were proceeding cautiously due to fears that the building could further collapse, which would complicate efforts to reach them.

One person was already rescued, Asawin said, and workers were trying to get to one other person who “we think might be alive”.

A volunteer rescue worker told local news broadcaster Thai PBS he was spraying water onto the building’s balcony when he sensed something was wrong. Disaster prevention department officials soon ordered everyone to leave the house.

“Some left but others who were inside holding the hose couldn’t leave because they had to wait for the water to be turned off first. At that moment, the building collapsed in front of me. I was lucky I did not get hurt,” said Somchai Bowornlarp.

Video footage captured the moment the building came crashing down, as a number of rescue workers were standing outside. Earlier footage showed flames raging throughout all three floors as a man sprayed the building’s exterior with a single hose.

Rescue teams search for possible victims trapped in a house that collapsed in Bangkok, Thailand. PHOTO: AP