Fire rips through buildings as thousands of tourists splash water in Thai new year celebrations

Revellers splashing water on each other for Thailand's new year celebrations fled in panic last night (Fri) when a transformer exploded causing a huge fire.

Thousands of tourists had gathered on the busy nightlife street on the island of Phuket to take part in the annual Songkran celebrations, where people in the streets and buildings are soaked in water.

But during the water fights, at around 7:40pm an electrical transformer exploded causing flames to spread along power lines on the Thaweewong Road near Patong Beach.

A shop was set alight and suffered the equivalent of 1.5million GBP of damage after fire crews battled for three hours to control the blaze.

About 10 clothing and souvenirs shops were damaged or destroyed in the blaze.

Officers are now investigating what caused the explosion and subsequent fire. Patong police chief Anothai Jindamanee said: ''At this stage we believed that the fire has started from an electric transformer. However the forensic police are continuing their investigation.''

Onlookers said they heard a loud explosion followed by sparks fall from power lines onto the shop below. Nobody was injured in the fire.