The Mountain B nightclub owner and his wife held their first public press conference/interview yesterday, August 10th, saying they almost attempted to commit suicide after the incident, expressed remorse for the victims, but asserted that the fire exits were unlocked.
Five days have passed since the horrid Mountain B nightclub fire that killed 16 people and injured several more on August 5th, and finally, the pub owner Pongsiri Panprasong, 27, or “Sia B” who was released on 300,000-baht bail was ready to talk.
“I apologize to every victim’s family. I will try to visit all of them to deal with the funeral arrangements and compensation,” Sia B said briefly before letting his wife Anongnart Panprasong, 31, speak.
“I was checking our stock outside the pub when I heard a blast around 1 AM. I saw customers rushing out of the front gate; some were covered in flame, so I used a wet towel to help them before I called a firefighter,” Anongnart stated. Three of her employees reportedly died in the pub, but she said she was unaware because she was engrossed in an interrogation at the Plutaluang Police Station.
When asked about their source of funding, Anongnart replied, “We accumulated money from selling goods, pork meat, and noodles. We also run a restaurant in front of our pub and manage everything on our own without any consultant or silent investors. We are the sole owners.”
Regarding the fire exit, which many rumored that it was locked, the wife claimed, “The guard usually took care of it. I don’t know if it was locked. But the side doors were always open.”
Sia B then interrupted his wife and asserted, “All doors always stayed open due to our policy. We also had clear signs pointing to the exit.”
Anongnart continued in a trembling tone that this tragedy almost drove her to mutually commit suicide with her husband, as she admitted the problem was almost too much for them to bear.
The reporters then asked her about the license to operate a pub, to which Anongnart confessed that the license she had technically allowed her to open a restaurant, not a nightclub; however, she affirmed that she abided by the legal closing hours by closing her venue at 1 AM every day and always prioritized security measures.
Even so, Anongnart said she had no idea how two minors, 17 and 18 years old, who were later found dead inside the pub, could evade her security guards. The legal age for entry to clubs in Thailand is twenty-years-old.
Sia B ended the conference, promising that once all matters had been sorted, he would ordain as a monk to dedicate his merit to all the victims.