Panic as tourists flee Walking Street explosions

There was an 'explosion' before the huge inferno (Image: Viral Press)

Tourists run screaming for their lives as fire rips through notorious red light district in Pattaya, Thailand.

Tourists ran screaming for their lives on Saturday night as a fire ripped though a packed Thai red light district.

Flames erupted just after 10pm in one bar and then spread to several others at the SMK plaza on Walking Street in Pattaya, south-east of Bangkok as hundreds of revellers were drinking.

Bar workers and drinkers were filmed screaming in terror as they fled into the street with flames behind them and reports of violent explosions.

Two tourists were rushed to hospital on Saturday night, suffering from smoke inhalation and minor burns.

One woman was heard saying ‘oh my god, what’s happening’ as sparks flew into the street and flames stretched into the night sky.

The blaze quickly spread to neighbouring bars as motorbikes parked outside ignited.

Fire crews brought the fire under control in about 30 minutes and are now scouring the smouldering wreckage for signs of what caused the blaze.

There have been reports that it may have been caused by a malfunctioning transformer.

Witnesses described hearing a ‘large explosion’ followed by a fire breaking out, which is believed to have been caused by the transformer.

Bar man Sakarin Khokkruat, 28, said: ‘I was working and heard a loud explosion next to the bar. Then there were flames everywhere. The flames were coming from an electrical transformer.

‘Then another explosion and more fire. The tourists started running into the street and screaming. We tried to put out the flames but they were too much.’

British holidaymaker Andrew McKay from Crawley, said: ‘I was drinking in the bar and smelled smoke. In a few seconds people were screaming ‘fire, fire’.

The focus of fire crews now is to try and find out for definite what caused the devastating blaze 
The focus of fire crews now is to try and find out for definite what caused the devastating blaze
The ferocity of the blaze gutted several bars and forced patrons to run into the streets in fear of their lives 
The ferocity of the blaze gutted several bars and forced patrons to run into the streets in fear of their lives

It took fire crews half an hour to bring the blaze under control, but by then several bars were completely gutted
It took fire crews half an hour to bring the blaze under control, but by then several bars were completely gutted

Pattiya has a reputation for its go-go bars, although many have disappeared as the authorities push to tidy the area up (file picture)
Pattiya has a reputation for its go-go bars, although many have disappeared as the authorities push to tidy the area up (file picture)
Fleeing drinkers said the speed of the fire was so great that several people suffered from smoke inhalation difficulties 
Fleeing drinkers said the speed of the fire was so great that several people suffered from smoke inhalation difficulties

‘I grabbed my bottle and legged it. I was outside and it was just like a matter of 10 or 20 seconds before the flames were everywhere.

‘All the girls, all the locals, they ran outside and away down the road. The fire engines came and it took them about 30 minutes to get it under control.’

Bar worker Noi Wattana said: ‘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.’  – Mailonline

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