Nightclub fire in Thailand's Phuket kills four

The blaze at the Tiger disco on 17 August 2012 Image copyright AP
Image caption Tiger disco is popular with both local residents and tourists

A fire at a nightclub in the popular Thai tourist destination of Phuket has killed four people and injured about a dozen others, police say.

The fire at the Tiger disco broke out early on Friday morning. Officials said it could have been caused by lightning striking a transformer.

The nationalities of the deceased are not known, but reports say foreigners are among the injured.

Thai nightclub safety has been in the spotlight since a deadly fire in 2009.

More than 60 people died in Bangkok after a fire broke out at the Santika Club in the early hours of New Year's Day. Two men, including the owner of the club, were jailed last year.

The Tiger club in the Patong beach area in Phuket is well-known among both tourists and locals.

Police said the identities of the four people who died was not yet known. French nationals were reported to be among the injured.

Reports said the fire broke out at about 04:00 local time (21:00 GMT), after the official closing time for clubs in Thailand.

Tiger was closed but there were about 70 to 80 people taking shelter from a downpour at the time of the fire, an executive with the group which operates the venue told AFP.

''There were up to three lightning strikes and black-outs before the fire broke out," said Tomrongsak Boonyarunk.

"We fully comply with the law on fire exits," he said. "We will not duck responsibility. We are sorry. I've sent staff to hospital to look after the injured people."

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