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Wednesday 08 October 2008

Building collapse in Bangkok 'gay' street

Posted in: International Daily News
By Andy Boreham - 2nd October 2008

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A building in one of Thailand's busiest 'gay' streets has partially collapsed onto the street below, causing chaos in what is one of Asia's most popular LGBT districts.

The collapse at the centre of a Bangkok 'gay' street (pic: Santi Tantrakoon)

The collapse happened on Tuesday in Bangkok's Silom Soi 4 at around 4pm local time (10pm NZ time), when the Soi is largely unattended. There are no reports of fatalities or injuries.

The four-story building, currently under renovation and operating as Roxy Club, partially fell to the ground, crushing motorcyles and furniture, leaving the street covered in large pieces of concrete and other debris.

Bangkok's Silom Soi 4, with the collapse shown on the right (pic: Santi Tantrakoon)

Santi Tantrakoon, self-confessed 'gay Reuter' of Bangkok, rushed to the scene soon after hearing of the situation.

"A friend of mine rang in the afternoon while I was working hard, or actually hardly working," Santi says. "I ran from work which was just a minute away and not forgetting to take my camera with me."

Santi says rescue units were on the scene, working frantically to ensure there was no one trapped under the debris.

"We were so lucky [that there were] no gays or any sign of human beings trapped within the wreckage."

An international flight attendant, in Bangkok at present, worried that injuries could be caused due to Thailand's seemingly relaxed approach to health and safety. "Of course nothing is blocked off [at the scene] and I saw nobody checking anything."

The sustaining wall with the adjacent building, The Balcony—one of Bangkok's most popular LGBT drinking spots—has been severely damaged, although management of this venue have reopened for business anyway.

In an email to its regular patrons, management of The Balcony tried to lure customers back to the area.

"The Balcony have now made temporary repairs and are open again as usual," the email stated. "Full repairs will take a little longer but plans are in hand to have this work completed as soon as possible. We look forward to seeing you again at The Balcony very soon."