Hundreds of caged animals die in a fire at Thailand’s famous Chatuchak weekend market


BANGKOK (AP) — Hundreds of caged animals died Tuesday after a fire struck the Chatuchak Weekend Market, one of the most famous markets in Thailand’s capital.

The fire was reported early in the morning and quickly spread to more than 100 stores in the market’s pet section, according to the Bangkok government.

Officials said it took them about an hour to get the fire under control. There are no reports of human casualties, but Thai media reports suggest the fire killed hundreds of animals, including puppies, fish, snakes, birds and rabbits, which were kept in cages and locked in shops.

The cause of the fire was under investigation, said Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt, who arrived at the scene after the fire was extinguished. Officials could be seen on the scene in the morning, inspecting charred stores or breaking down metal fences to bring out animals that survived the fire.

Officials said they are still estimating the cost of the damage, and that affected store owners can apply for compensation.

The sprawling weekend market is a major draw for tourists, drawing shoppers from all over the world to browse its hundreds of shops and stalls for items ranging from food and drink to clothing, furniture, plants, books and pets.

Wildlife groups have often accused some sellers of being involved in the trade of rare and endangered species, such as turtles, tortoises and birds.

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