Fire at famous Thai market kills hundreds of caged pets, officials say

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A fire ripped through part of the famed Chatuchak Weekend Market in the Thai capital of Bangkok early Tuesday, killing hundreds of caged animals, including dogs, cats, birds, fishes and snakes, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration said.

The fire broke out at around 4 a.m. local time and was extinguished around 25 minutes later, Chayakorn Kumchoke, an assistant to the administration’s spokesman, said in a phone interview Tuesday. He said that around 800 animals were killed, all of them marketed as pets.

There were no reports of human casualties and officials are investigating the cause of the blaze.

The fire damaged most of the animal section of the market, where 118 shops are spread over some 15,000 square feet, Chayakorn said.

Chatuchak is a major tourist attraction and one of the world’s largest outdoor markets, with knickknacks, locally designed clothes and secondhand items, along with exotic pets and couture dog clothes. The animal section of the market is open every day, according to Chayakorn.

Wildlife groups have long accused some vendors of trafficking rare animal species, including turtles, tortoises and birds, according to the Associated Press.

Officials said they are still working to estimate the cost of the damage, and that affected shop owners could register for compensation, the AP reported.

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