POSTED: 5:51 a.m. HST, Aug 17, 2012
BANGKOK >> Rescuers carried four corpses out of a charred nightclub Friday after an early morning blaze gutted the two-story building on a Thai resort island that is popular with foreigners, though recent deadly events have dented its image.
Eleven people were injured in the fire at the Tiger Discotheque, a bar and dance club on a street packed with pubs and restaurants in Phuket's Patong beach area, the island's main town.
Rescue crews pulled out the victims on stretchers covered by tarps in the morning. Beach sandals were scattered among the charred debris.
Nationalities of the four victims were not immediately known, said police Maj. Gen. Chanasit Wattanawarangkun. The injured are four French tourists and seven Thais.
An initial investigation indicated sparks from an electricity transformer near the club started the fire after heavy rains caused a brief blackout in parts of the island, Chanasit said.
The fire is the latest deadly event to tarnish Phuket's image as a tourist paradise.
A 60-year-old Australian tourist was stabbed to death on Phuket in June after two Thai men tried to steal her pocketbook.
Friday's blaze was likely to revive a debate about inadequate safety measures at shoddily built nightclubs in Thailand.