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Death traps: How many Bangkok theaters lack sprinklers, smoke detectors?

Revelations that no smoke detectors or fire suppression systems were installed inside a large cinema destroyed Thursday by fire has prompted officials to inspect 300 other cinemas in the capital city to find out if they comply with fire regulations.

death traps in BangkokInstead of smoke detectors, Major Cineplex Pinklao in western Bangkok relied on heat detectors, which take longer to set off an alarm, according to Bussakorn Saensuk, a fire hazard expert for the Engineering Institute of Thailand.

Even more so, the theater relied on fire extinguishers should disaster strike.

“Major didn’t have any sprinklers,” Bussakorn said Tuesday by telephone. “And the fire alarm there didn’t detect smoke. It was a heat detector, which works slower.”

Attempts to put out the blaze using hand-held extinguishers failed, she said.

“Because of the lack of smoke detectors, and because of building materials which easily caught fire, the blaze spread quickly until fire extinguishers could not contain it,”

The law allows use of either type of detectors, but smoke alarms are far more reliable, Bussakorn said.

Full Story – Khaosod

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