Around 1,000 animals were killed in a fire in Bangkok's famous open-air Chatuchak market early Tuesday, gutting nearly 100 shops.

Birds, dogs, cats and snakes were burnt to death in their cages in the pet zone, which also inlcuded rats, pythons and geckos.

The blaze was started by an electrical short circuit, authorities said, adding that no human casualties or injuries have been reported.

With tens of thousands of shops crowding narrow lanes, Chatuchak is one of South East Asia's biggest markets.

It's also the largest and best-known of Thailand's weekend markets. It claim to draw nearly 200,000 tourists every Saturay and Sunday. But the portion of the market selling pets is open through the week.

This accounts for about four of the 27 sections in Chatuchak market and is arguably it's most controversial trade.

This zone of the market is subjected to regular inspections and has been criticised for the animals' poor living conditions, which has reportedly led to high rates of disease and death.

The fire damaged most of the 118 shops in the pet zone, which covers about 1,400 sq metres (15,000 sq feet), according to a preliminary inspection.

Recounting her narrow escape, a shopowner Meecha, told online news outlet Thaiger that she was awakened by the animals' cries in the loft above her shop.

"Suddenly, thick smoke filled the air, making it impossible to breathe," said Meecha, who climbed through a window to safety.

Some shop owners do live in the market, but it's unclear how many were there when the fire broke out.

According to the Chatuchak District Office, the blaze started around 04:10 local time on Tuesday (21:10 GMT on Monday) and was extinguished 30 minutes later.

Pictures online show extensive sections engulfed in flames and cages charred. Some appear to have been burned out of shape.

Footage on local television show shopkeepers gathering dead snakes and placing them in boxes outside their shops.

2024-06-11T05:35:37Z dg43tfdfdgfd