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Royal Aid and Resilience: Bangkok’s Yaowarat Fire Leaves Community Rebuilding

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Fire victims taking shelter at Wat Samphanthawong on Sunday
Fire victims take shelter at Wat Samphanthawong on Sunday. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

The weekend took an unexpected and devastating turn for the residents of an ancient Bangkok community when a rampant fire engulfed the area, leaving destruction and chaos in its wake. On Sunday, Their Majesties, the King and the Queen, demonstrated profound compassion by expressing their heartfelt concerns for the victims who had lost their homes in the inferno that erupted in Yaowarat on Saturday night. In a touching gesture, they donated an array of relief supplies to aid those affected.

ACM Jom Rungsawang, a member of the Privy Council, was dispatched to the scene to deliver the aid packages personally. He also conveyed the royal family’s deep sympathy to the residents, resonating with the community’s sense of loss and calamity. His visit was a beacon of hope for those grappling with the aftermath of the blaze.

Authorities reported that although the fire did not claim any lives, one person remains unaccounted for. Thirty individuals, primarily elderly residents, required medical attention, notably for lung issues and breathing problems caused by the heavy smoke. Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, taking swift action, instructed relevant authorities to expedite support and provide necessary assistance to all victims.

Anukul Peedkaew, the permanent secretary for social development and human security, revealed that over 260 individuals, mostly migrant workers, had already sought help at the Samphanthawong district office. Many of these individuals have been rendered homeless by the blaze, finding temporary refuge in various nearby temples and shelters, including Wat Chai Chana Songkhram, Wat Samphanthawong, and Wat Traimit Wittayaram Worawihan School. Others were accommodated in shelters provided by their employers.

The fire, which ignited in the Trok Pho community on Yaowarat Road within the Samphanthawong district, began around 8:40 pm on Saturday. A significant portion of Yaowarat Road, stretching from Chaloem Buri intersection to the Odeon roundabout, was temporarily cordoned off for public safety. In a massive firefighting effort, approximately 40 fire engines were mobilized to combat the fierce flames.

After a grueling battle, firefighters managed to bring the blaze under control by 11:16 pm. The nearly 3,200-square-meter area, home to around 60 wooden houses, suffered extensive damage, with many structures either completely destroyed or significantly charred. The fire also impacted parts of two local hotels and adjacent commercial buildings. Firefighters heroically rescued guests from these hotels using the hydraulic hoist equipped on their fire engine, while patients were evacuated from the nearby Thianfah Hospital.

Paisarn Charoenboonma, from the Samphanthawong district office, recounted hearing multiple explosive sounds, which he likened to electrical transformer explosions, right before the fire erupted.

Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt emphasized that numerous migrant workers resided in the Trok Pho community, assuring that they would receive the required support. He mentioned the fire’s detrimental effect on the operations of two local hotels, resulting in an exodus of guests, but confirmed that Yaowarat Road would be reopened to traffic on Monday.

Pol Col Withawat Khengkhoom, the head of the Plabplachai 2 police station, stated that forensic investigators would need to meticulously interrogate witnesses and gather concrete evidence to determine the precise origin of the fire. He acknowledged that this unfortunate incident could have a temporary negative impact on tourism in the area, but he assured that increased safety measures are being enforced to protect both residents and visitors in the future.


  1. Sarah44 July 7, 2024

    It’s heartwarming to see the royal family’s direct involvement in the relief efforts. They truly care about their people!

    • Mek Das July 7, 2024

      I agree, but shouldn’t the government already have measures in place for such disasters? Relying on the royals seems a bit outdated.

      • P. Somchai July 7, 2024

        Government interventions often take time. Having the royal family’s immediate support is a unique advantage Thailand has.

        • Mai_Tais July 7, 2024

          It’s also about showing empathy and solidarity, which can be very reassuring for the victims.

    • Katie Nguyen July 7, 2024

      Let’s not forget that many countries still rely on a figurehead to unite people during crises. It’s not necessarily bad.

  2. Jake July 7, 2024

    260 people homeless and they’re staying in temples? That doesn’t seem like a sustainable solution.

    • Nat R. July 7, 2024

      Temples are integral to Thai culture and often serve as community centers in times of need. It’s temporary but effective.

      • Gwen Patterson July 7, 2024

        Exactly. Temples have the space and the community already trusts them. It’s a good short-term fix.

    • Rachana P. July 7, 2024

      True, but long-term plans need to be established. These people can’t live in temples indefinitely.

    • Jake July 7, 2024

      Fair point. I just worry about the long-term psychological impact on these people.

  3. T. L. July 7, 2024

    Amazing how quickly they got the fire under control. Hats off to the firefighters!

    • Mikey July 7, 2024

      Yeah, but 40 fire engines? That’s a lot. Shows how unprepared we really are for such events.

      • Lin Yuen July 7, 2024

        Prepared or not, they did their job. Focusing on the negative doesn’t help anyone.

  4. K. P. July 7, 2024

    What about the economic impact? Two local hotels were affected. This could hurt tourism badly.

    • TeaLover88 July 7, 2024

      Local businesses will suffer for sure. I hope the government has a plan to support them.

      • M. Carter July 7, 2024

        Tourism will bounce back. People have short memories when it comes to travel destinations.

  5. Anna Phan July 7, 2024

    Does anyone know if there’s any international aid coming in? This kind of disaster needs all the help it can get.

  6. Ricky July 7, 2024

    One person is unaccounted for. That’s really concerning. Hope they’re found safe.

    • Luke T. July 7, 2024

      It’s tragic. Fires spread so quickly, it’s hard to control the damage.

      • Ricky July 7, 2024

        Absolutely. Fingers crossed for the missing person though.

  7. Dewi July 7, 2024

    Hearing about the multiple explosions before the fire started makes me wonder if it was electrical. Why aren’t our buildings safer?

    • Boon C. July 7, 2024

      Safety standards in old communities are always lacking. Modernizing them is costly but necessary.

      • Jules T July 7, 2024

        True, but cost shouldn’t be an excuse when lives are at stake.

  8. Michael July 7, 2024

    Bangkok needs stricter building codes to prevent this from happening again.

  9. A. Yamada July 7, 2024

    Sad to hear about the elderly needing medical attention. Lung issues from smoke can be very dangerous.

    • Thao July 7, 2024

      Absolutely. Smoke inhalation can lead to long-term health problems.

      • A. Yamada July 7, 2024

        Right, and elderly people are especially vulnerable. They should have better emergency systems.

  10. Kobe23 July 7, 2024

    Temporary shelters are fine for now, but what’s the plan for rebuilding? Any updates on that?

    • S. Paul July 7, 2024

      Rebuilding will take time and money. It’ll be interesting to see how they manage it.

      • Kobe23 July 7, 2024

        Yeah, let’s hope they don’t cut corners and build safer structures this time.

  11. Maria G. July 7, 2024

    I hope the forensic investigators find the cause quickly. Understanding what started the fire is crucial to preventing future disasters.

    • Ian July 7, 2024

      True. If it was electrical, we need to look at wiring standards in the area.

  12. Liam O’Reilly July 7, 2024

    While it’s good that Yaowarat Road is reopening soon, I worry about how secure the area really is after such a fire.

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