The blaze broke out around 3.55 a.m. on the second floor of the Tiger Pub on the island’s popular western Patong beach, which was then filled with Thai and foreign tourists, reported Xinhua.
It took about an hour for the firefighters to bring the blaze under control. Early reports said four bodies were retrieved from the fire and 11 injured were taken to a hospital.
There is no Chinese citizen among the injured, Wu Xiufeng, an official at the Chinese Consulate in Songkla, told Xinhua by telephone.
“But the four bodies were burnt and deformed and their identities can only be confirmed by pending DNA tests,” he said.
Phuket Deputy Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada said the authorities believed the victims are foreign tourists but it is not yet confirmed.
The incident is under investigation. But according to Chamroen, the fire was probably caused by lightning which struck a transformer.
It was a reminder of the 2009 New Year pub fire in capital Bangkok, which left more than 60 people dead, including five foreign tourists. The pub owner was convicted of gross negligence last year and sentenced to three years in prison.