The fire broke out around 1 a.m. at the Mountain B nightclub, a single-story building in the Sattahip district of Chonburi province, southeast of Bangkok. and about 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of the city of Pattaya, a popular tourist destination, Thai police said.
Police Colonel Wuttipong Somjai told CNN the fire occurred during a live music performance and burn injuries ranged from “mild to severe”.
All those who died were Thai citizens, he confirmed. Rescue officials said one of the dead was a 17-year-old boy, the youngest death identified so far.
Colonel Somjai said investigations are now underway into the cause of the fire.
Nattanit Pikulkaew said she was at the nightclub to celebrate her brother’s birthday and was near the front of the stage when a woman ran in screaming that the ceiling was on fire.
Seconds later, he saw that the speakers on the stage were on fire.
“Within no time, the fire had spread to the ceiling,” he told CNN, adding that as audience members tried to flee, the entrance to the club became jammed.
“I saw people trying to break the glass walls, but they were too thick,” he said.
His brother suffered severe burns and is in critical condition; his friend died inside the building.
Raphon Namtham, a local musician who regularly performs at the nightclub on Monday nights, told CNN the venue opened two months ago and had become popular with locals for its live band performances, which take place every night from 12 am to 1 am “Clients come to drink and dance,” he said.
He was not at the nightclub when the fire broke out, but said the front door was the only point of entry and exit for patrons.
Musicians would enter and exit through the back door, which would be locked during performances, he said.
He added that the ceiling of the nightclub was covered with acoustic panels that were highly flammable.
Namtham said the band Taew Waew was performing at the time of the fire and their replacement singer and keyboard player were among those who had died. He said the drummer was on a life support ventilator at a nearby hospital.
Photos from a local search operation, Rescue Sattahip, showed badly charred seats inside the venue.