BANGKOK: A fire broke out at Bangkok's CentralWorld shopping complex on Wednesday evening (Apr 10), killing at least two people and injuring 16 others.
The complex in downtown Bangkok houses one of the city's busiest and most popular malls, as well as a hotel - Centara Grand Hotel - and offices.
Photos and videos on social media show thick plumes of smoke rising from the building. Hundreds of people were evacuated.
"One (person) died at the scene" and another at a nearby hospital, a spokesperson for the Erawan Medical Emergency centre told reporters.
One of the victims had jumped to death, police spokesperson Krissana Pattanacharoen said.
Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang told reporters at the scene of the fire that the building will be closed until it is safe.
"We have to see the impact on the structure and the police will need to go in to investigate."
The fire reportedly broke out just before 6pm local time. Sirens from emergency vehicles could be heard as first responders tried to make their way through rush hour traffic.
A video shows one person jumping from a window to escape the fire.
"I saw smoke coming out from the building and two people jumped," Thanusit Kidtham, an eyewitness, told Reuters.
According to Khaosod news site, a local police chief said the fire broke out in a document storage room on the eighth floor of the hotel.
The Nation news portal said people were seen dashing to the hotel's parking area to get their cars out.
The fire has been brought under control, said Thai media.
CentralWorld sits at a major intersection in Bangkok's business district. It was among the buildings set on fire during mass anti-government protests in 2010.
The area around Central World is a popular shopping destination and was chock-full of tourists and rush-hour traffic.
The fire comes just days before the Songkran holiday on Apr 13 to 15.