Sampheng shophouse owner threatens to sue MEA over Sunday blaze
The owner of the shophouse that caught fire in Bangkok’s Sampheng market is threatening to sue the Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA) for failing to maintain the transformer that blew up on Sunday.
According to witnesses, the transformer outside the three-storey shophouse burst into flames, which soon swept through a row of shophouses. The blaze, which killed two people and injured nine others, took firefighters more than two hours to control.
Suchart Kittirudeekul, owner of the shophouse, said the transformer had exploded several times before and said he warned the MEA about it last week, but nothing was done.
“Now, the fire has caused damages worth more than 10 million baht,” he said.
He said he had been operating his business at the shophouse for six years and that it had a fire insurance policy. He also said he would consult a lawyer before filing a lawsuit against MEA.
“The shophouse will be demolished as the building is now unusable,” he added.
Jittra Attjai, who works at a plastic bag shop nearby, said an MEA officer had checked and fixed cables in the area before the accident took place.
She said she and other people noticed sparks from the cables in front of the shop after MEA officials left.
“Later, some liquid gushed out of the transformer, before it exploded twice,” she said, adding that she immediately ran to the other side of the road to escape the fire.
“Then flames from the transformer quickly spread into the building,” she added.
The MEA has not announced the cause of the fire yet, saying the agency is cooperating with related agencies to find the real cause. It also claimed that the transformer’s automatic short-circuit protection system had been operating normally.
“MEA will provide aid to victims as soon as possible in line with the agency’s emergency measures,” it said.
MEA has also said it will cooperate with the Bangkok governor and other agencies to find the actual cause of the fire and will implement preventive measures to ensure people’s safety.