Four die in Thai nightclub fire


Four people died and at least 11 were injured in a fire early today in a bar on the Thai island of Phuket.

The dead included two women and one man, but police said the bodies were too badly burnt to identify. Four French nationals were among the injured, one of them seriously ill in hospital.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said they do not believe any Irish people were involved in the fire.

The Tiger Pub on Patong beach, which also houses a disco, was reported to be close to collapse after the fire, which broke out shortly before 4am local time.

"It was probably due to the strong rainfall, which caused a transformer to explode. The fire then spread to the pub, causing significant damage," a police officer in Kratu district said.

Thailand is one of the world's most popular tourist destinations, attracting 19 million visitors last year to its beaches, temples and nightlife in the capital, Bangkok.

But robberies and scams are on the rise in some areas, and an Australian woman died in Phuket in June after being stabbed while trying to fend off a bag-snatcher.

Lax safety standards are a problem. In the worst incident in recent years, 66 people died and more than 200 were injured when a fire broke out in a club in central Bangkok as people were welcoming in the new year in the early hours of January 1st, 2009.