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Fire sweeps through downtown Bangkok high rise, killing two people

February 23, 1997

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ Fire climbed through a newly opened 36-floor hotel and office tower Sunday, killing at least two people and injuring 107, police and local news media said.

Helicopters plucked 30 people from the roof of the President Tower after the blaze broke out on a lower floor and spread through the building in downtown Bangkok, police said.

One man died after jumping from the fourth floor, while a second probably fell from the seventh floor while trying to flee the flames, police said.

The injured suffered from broken bones, smoke inhalation and shock. All but six, who were in serious condition, were treated and released from Police Hospital. All of the victims were Thai.

It took firefighters six hours to extinguish the flames, and even then they couldn’t enter the building because of heavy smoke. Police said more people might be trapped inside.

Fires have destroyed or badly damaged a number of department stores, hotels and other major buildings in Bangkok in recent years. Gross violations of building and safety standards are normally cited as the cause.

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