Deadly fire at popular Phuket nightclub

New Zealanders are not believed to be among the injured after a deadly fire at a nightclub popular with foreign tourists on the Thai resort island of Phuket.

However, it is still not known whether any of those killed were Kiwis.

The fire has left four people dead and about a dozen injured, officials say. It occurred almost two hours after all bars and other venues in the city are supposed to be closed.

"There are four confirmed dead. We believe they are foreign tourists, but it's not yet confirmed," Phuket deputy governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada told AFP.

"The fire was caused by lightning, which struck a transformer and the fire spread throughout the place," he added.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman said unofficial reports showed New Zealanders were not among the injured people taken to a local hospital.

The New Zealand Embassy in Bangkok was contacting Thai authorities to find out whether New Zealanders were killed in the blaze.

Formal identification of the dead was expected to take some time, the MFAT spokeswoman said.

The blaze broke out early on Friday (local time) at the Tiger disco in the town of Patong, a magnet for foreign tourists on the southern island.

A second provincial official said 12 people were admitted to hospital with injuries.
Rescue workers had retrieved the four bodies and sent them for autopsy, he added.

- AFP and Herald Online

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