Blaze-hit Major Cineplex Pinklao faces safety checks

Construction News
The main, obvious damage to Major Cineplex Pinklao was a massive collapse of sections of the roof.
The main, obvious damage to Major Cineplex Pinklao was a massive collapse of sections of the roof.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) said it will take about a week to assess the damage at the Major Cineplex Pinklao building in Bangkok, engulfed by fire Thursday, before deciding whether the building can be saved.

Prasarn Pitakvoraratana, director of the BMA’s Public Works Department (PWD), said a team from the Engineering Institute of Thailand and officials from the department will inspect the building to evaluate the damage. The evaluation will take about a week as the structure must be examined thoroughly.

Authorities also declared the building off-limits.

The BMA’s response came after the blaze broke out at the 16-screen Major Cineplex Pinklao in Bang Phlat district about 11.30am. The fire started at cinema No.8 on the third floor of the building. Firefighters battled to bring the blaze under control, with the flames being fed by the carpet flooring. The building has its own fire extinguishing system but the fire spread too rapidly.

About 30-40 fire engines and more than 100 firefighters spent more than two hours extinguishing the fire.

The fire caused the third and fourth storeys as well as part of the building’s roof to collapse. Cracks were also found in some walls of the building. However, the building foundations and structure were still intact.

Two people, who suffered minor cuts from broken glass, were sent to a hospital and later released.

Blaze-hit Major Cineplex Pinklao faces safety checks2

Meanwhile, Metropolitan Police Bureau acting commissioner Sanit Mahathavorn said authorities have narrowed down three possible causes of fire: arson, negligence and an accident. An electrical short circuit was a possible cause.

A forensics team will also try to determine the cause of the blaze, he added.

Thaiwut Khankaew, chief of the PWD’s Building Control Division, said the department granted permission for construction of the five-storey building in 1995, and its extensions. Annual structural assessment reports for the building were also submitted to the department.

The 16-screen Major Pinklao, owned by the Poolvaraluck family, was built in 1995 on the site of Welco Department store that burned down in 1993.

The fire led the share price of the cinema operator, Major Cineplex Group Pcl, to plunge by 2.16% to 34 baht while the overall Stock Exchange of Thailand Index rose 0.61% to 1524.58 points.

The blaze broke out Thursday morning, with numerous firefighting units responding, including a sky-gondola unit that fought the fire from above.