The 3-storey building of the Fifth Division of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) on Bangkok’s Sathorn Road burned down early this morning, together with many criminal case documents.
No one was in the 42-year old building at the time of the fire, but seven cars parked close by, including the official car of the division commander, sustained heavy damage.
Several fire trucks rushed to the scene and traffic was closed off up to one kilometre from the building during the fire. Explosions were heard periodically and the roof of the building collapsed about one hour after the start of the blaze.
Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt, who visited the scene, said he was told by a police guard that he had heard an explosion, possibly caused by a short circuit on the ground floor, and then he saw flames rising from a pile of documents.
The guard unsuccessfully tried to fight the fire with a portable extinguisher and alerted the emergency services.
CIB Commissioner Pol Lt-Gen Thiti Sangsawang said it is currently believed that the fire started in a room storing documents on the ground floor, before spreading to other areas.
He admitted that he does not know if there were important case files being kept in the building, adding that a fact-finding committee will be set up to determine the cause of the fire.
The building used to be the head office of the Economic Crime Suppression Division, but was taken over by the CIB division last August.