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Puppies, birds and rabbits: Hundreds of pets killed as fire rips through Thailand’s Chatuchak Market

Thai rescuer carries a chicken that survived a fire at the Chatuchak weekend market in Bangkok, Thailand, 11 June 2024.
Thai rescuer carries a chicken that survived a fire at the Chatuchak weekend market in Bangkok, Thailand, 11 June 2024. Copyright AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit
Copyright AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit
By Angela Symons with AP
Published on Updated
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A popular tourist attraction, 'JJ' Market's pet section has previously drawn criticism from wildlife organisations.

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Hundreds of caged animals died on Tuesday after a fire struck Chatuchak Weekend Market, one of the most famous markets in Thailand’s capital.

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

Officials 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, kept in cages and locked inside the shops.

What caused the fire at Chatuchak Market?

The cause of the fire is being investigated, said Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt, who visited the scene after the fire was put out. Officials could be seen at the site in the morning, inspecting the charred shops or breaking metal gates to bring out animals that survived the fire.

One vendor told local media that the fire started at a shop where electric fans were usually left on overnight to keep the animals comfortable in Bangkok's sweltering heat.

Officials said they are still working on estimating the cost of damage, and that affected shop owners could register for compensation.

The sprawling weekend market is a major tourist draw, bringing in shoppers from all over the world to browse its hundreds of shops and stalls for items ranging from food and drink to clothing, furniture, plants, books and pets.

Wildlife organisations have often accused some vendors of involvement in the trafficking of rare and endangered species, such as turtles, tortoises and birds.

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