More Than 1,000 Exotic Animals Perish in Thailand Market Fire

More Than 1,000 Exotic Animals Perish in Thailand Market Fire
A dead bird lies in its cage next to shops damaged following a fire in which exotic animals, reptiles, and pets perished at Chatuchak Weekend Market, in Bangkok on June 11, 2024. (Chalinee Thirasupa/Reuters)

BANGKOK—More than a thousand exotic animals, reptiles, and pets perished in a sprawling market in Thailand’s capital Bangkok after a fire ripped through over a hundred shops in the early hours of Tuesday, authorities said.

The blaze ravaged around 1,300 square meters (13,993 square feet) of the Chatuchak Weekend Market killing more than 1,000 animals including snakes, spiders, and Siamese fighting fish, Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt told reporters.

Some 118 shops were burnt down and an initial inspection suggest that the fire was caused by an electrical fault, Police Superintendent Phuwadon Ounpho said.

Firefighters and rescue workers on Tuesday picked through carcasses, mangled cages, blackened walls, and collapsed metal shop roofs. A medic treated a chicken near the smoldering ruins of one row of shops, according to a Reuters witness.

“I’m shock. I feel like crying, but there are no tears,” Siamese fighting fish shop owner Suwannee Sangdee, 49, who fears her small establishment has been left in ruins and all her precious fish dead.

“Now I have to think about what’s next.”

The Chatuchak market is best known for its packed shops for fashion, accessories, and exotic animals attracting thousands of visitors each weekend.