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More than 1,000 exotic animals perish in fire at Bangkok's Chatuchak market

BANGKOK - More than a thousand exotic animals, reptiles and pets perished in a sprawling market in Thailand's capital Bangkok after a fire ripped through over a hundred shops in the early hours of Tuesday (June 11), authorities said.

The blaze ravaged around 1,300 square metres of the Chatuchak Weekend Market killing more than 1,000 animals including snakes, spiders and Siamese fighting fish, Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt told reporters.

Some 118 shops were burnt down and an initial inspection suggest that the fire was caused by an electrical fault, Police Superintendent Phuwadon Ounpho said.

Firefighters and rescue workers on Tuesday picked through carcasses, mangled cages, blackened walls and collapsed metal shop roofs. A medic treated a chicken near the smouldering ruins of one row of shops, according to a Reuters witness.

"I'm shock. I feel like crying, but there are no tears," Siamese fighting fish shop owner Suwannee Sangdee, 49, who fears her small establishment has been left in ruins and all her precious fish dead.

"Now I have to think about what's next."

The Chatuchak market is best-known for its packed shops for fashion, accessories and exotic animals attracting thousands of visitors each weekend.