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At least 13 people died and dozens were injured when fire broke out early on Friday at a crowded nightclub in eastern Thailand, police and rescue workers said.

Videos circulating on social media showed people fleeing the pub while thick black smoke billowed from the door and then the entrance through which people were escaping was suddenly engulfed in flames. Several people had fire on their clothes as they emerged from the building. Rescue workers said more than three dozen people were injured.

The cause of the fire at the Mountain B pub in Sattahip district of Chonburi province, about 160 kilometres south-east of Bangkok, is under investigation, provincial police chief Maj Gen Atthasit Kijjahan told the PPTV news channel. He said the pub’s owner and staff were giving statements at the police station and the police forensic team would be collecting evidence at the scene. Police said the fire was reported at about 12.45am.

Several witnesses described seeing smoke and fire on the ceiling near the venue’s stage followed by the sound of explosions.

“The fire started at the top right corner of the stage,” a witness identified only as Nana told PPTV. “The singer must have seen it too, so he shouted ‘fire’ and threw away the microphone.”

She said she saw several pub security guards with their clothing on fire.

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