Death toll in Thai nightclub fire reaches 20, nine people on ventilators

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The death toll at a Thai nightclub hellhole has risen to 20, health officials said, as victims continue to receive medical treatment.

The fire broke out on August 5 at the Mountain B Club in Chonburi province, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) southeast of Bangkok. Authorities found 13 charred bodies inside the room.

Seven other people have since died from their injuries, the latest fatality being a 50-year-old man, the Chonburi provincial public health office said.

All of the victims were Thai nationals.

There are 25 injured people still receiving medical treatment in hospitals, including nine on ventilators, the local health authority said.

Flammable acoustic foams on the walls of the club accelerated the fire and it took firefighters more than three hours to bring it under control.

A senior Chonburi provincial police officer confirmed on Saturday that the owners of the club, a father and son, have been charged with recklessly causing death and operating a pub without a licence.

“They could face more charges related to building security and employee social security,” he told AFP.

Both were released on bail by the local court, he said.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha has ordered an investigation into the tragedy.

Thailand’s lax approach to health and safety regulations – especially in its bars and nightclubs – has long been a cause for concern.

A massive fire broke out at a New Year’s Eve party at Bangkok’s posh Santika club in 2009, killing 67 people and injuring more than 200.

Santika’s owner was jailed for three years over the blaze, which started when fireworks were set off as a rock band called Burn played on stage.

More recently, four people died in a fire caused by a power outage at a resort on the holiday island of Phuket in 2012.

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