Pattaya, an area of Thailand seldom out of the news, was hit by a “large explosion” and fire which erupted in the city’s “Walking Street” red light district just after 10pm on Saturday, sending two tourists to hospital.
The fire, said to have started after an electricity transformer exploded, ripped through a street of bars.
British tabloids went to town on the story. “Sex workers FLEE as fire rips through ‘Sin City’ red light district,” said the Daily Star.
“British tourists run screaming for their lives as fire rips through notorious red light district in Thailand,” trumpeted the Daily Mail online.
— Slam Drunk (@slamxdunkxpunk) March 10, 2018
The blaze was reported to have spread quickly between bars as motorbikes parked on the street burst into flames.
The Sun quoted Noi Wattana, a bar girl, saying: “I’m so shocked, this was so scary. I just ran and the fire was so hot, I could feel it burning my skin. I was choking on the smoke. It was like a nightmare. My clothes and handbag was in the bar and I had to leave it.”
One of the tourists taken to hospital was treated for smoke inhalation and another for minor burns, the paper reported.
It seems many tourists had a lucky escape.
It was an accident waiting to happen. Pattaya's Walking-street catches fire as yet another electronic box exploded, sending scores of tourists and Thai workers to hospital. Time to hold municipalities and EGAT accountable for their inaction. https://t.co/ThkPBDcR4K
— ThaiMythbuster (@thaimythbuster) March 11, 2018
Pattaya is a colourful part of the world. Last week it was in the news when police there arrested 10 Russian citizens for allegedly organising a “sex training” course in a hotel – and one of the accused suddenly made startling allegations about Donald Trump’s election. See: New aspect to Thai arrest of ‘sex training’ Russians
Just weeks earlier, Pattaya hit headlines after several nights of street fights on Walking Street followed a punch-up in which an Australian man was beaten to death in a bar. See: Pattaya violence erupts after Aussie beaten to death
Written by Peter Needham