The lead singer of a band called Burn has been charged with starting a Bangkok nightclub fire that killed 65 partygoers on new year’s eve by launching fireworks from the stage.
By Thomas Bell in Bangkok
The tragedy in the crowded Santika nightclub exposed the dismal safety standards of Bangkok’s shady entertainment scene. An official inquiry into the incident found a catalogue of safety failures and that the nightclub was part-owned by a senior police officer who allegedly protected it from official scrutiny.
Shortly after midnight a blaze engulfed the crowded building with around 1000 people trapped inside and only one marked exit. The fire killed 65 people and injured more than 200 others, including 4 Britons.
“Eyewitnesses and evidence points to fireworks as the cause of the fire at Santika pub, because the fireworks hit the club ceiling and the fire broke out 30 seconds after the fireworks were lit,” said General Jongrak Jutanont, deputy national police chief on Tuesday.
He said police had arrested Saravuth Ariya, 28, the lead singer of Burn.
“He was seen carrying fireworks into the pub and lighting them during the countdown,” said Gen Jongrak.
Mr Saravuth is the sixth person to be charged in connection with the fire. The others – all owners and managers of the club – have been charged with causing death by negligence and admitting under age drinkers.
Band, Nightclub In Rhode Island Kills 100 With Pyrotechnics
From the Boston Globe in 2003….