Hundreds of caged animals die in fire at Bangkok market

BANGKOK – Hundreds of caged animals died on Tuesday when a fire broke out at the Chatuchak weekend market, one of the most famous markets in Thailand’s capital.

A chicken rescued from the fire at Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok on June 11, 2024. Sakchai Lalit / AP

The fire was reported early in the morning and quickly engulfed more than 100 shops in the market’s pet section, according to the Bangkok government.

Authorities said it took them about an hour to bring the fire under control. There are no reports of human casualties, but Thai media reports suggested that the fire killed several hundred animals, including puppies, fish, snakes, birds and rabbits that were kept in cages and locked in the shops.

A fire raged in pet shops next to Bangkok’s famous Chatuchak weekend market early Tuesday.Chanakarn Laosarakham / AFP – Getty Images
After the fire, dead snakes lie in their containers.Chanakarn Laosarakham / AFP – Getty Images

The cause of the fire is currently being investigated, said Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt, who visited the scene after the fire was extinguished. Officials could be seen on site in the morning, inspecting the charred shops or breaking open metal gates to remove animals that had survived the fire.

Authorities said they were still working on estimating the extent of the damage and that affected shop owners could apply for compensation.

The sprawling weekend market is a major tourist attraction, drawing shoppers from all over the world who browse the hundreds of shops and stalls for goods ranging from food and drink to clothing, furniture, plants, books and pets.

Conservation organizations often accuse some traders of being involved in the illegal trade in rare and endangered species such as turtles and birds.