The iconic Pattaya Floating Market in Chonburi province, Thailand was damaged in a fire on Thursday, 7 Sep 2023. A number of shops and buildings were damaged but no loss of life has been reported.
The fire started at around 8pm local time but was detected early and put out by 10pm. 200 firefighters and 27 fire trucks from Pattaya city and neighbouring districts were involved in the operation.
One firefighter received minor burns and was discharged after treatment at a local hospital. While the fire caused extensive structural damage, there were no injuries among either shop vendors or visitors.
Pattaya Floating Market, also known as the Four Regions Water Market is popular with both tourists and locals. It was established in 2008 to celebrate and showcase the ancient way of life and unique culture of the Thai people who live along the country’s rivers.
The market occupies a sprawling 25 acres (100,000 m2), 0.39 acres of which was damaged in Thursday’s fire. Before the fire, it housed over 200 stores that sell food, souvenirs, clothes, homeware and other merchandise.
Almost all the buildings in Pattaya Floating Market are made of wood and have thatched roofs, which is suspected to have accelerated the spread of the inferno. Witnesses also reported hearing gas cylinders explode as the fire raged.
Shop owners were seen scrambling to rescue as much merchandise as they could from their shops as the flames neared. In the picture above, you can tell from the orange flow on both sides that the fire has almost surrounded this shop as the owners desperately try to carry away as much stock as they can.
Local officials estimate the damage caused by the Pattaya Floating Market fire to be around 50 million to 60 million baht (S$1.9-2.3 million). Authorities are still investigating the cause of the fire.