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Death toll rises from Thai nightclub fire

  • Story Highlights
  • At least 64 people have died from injuries sustained in the fire, police say
  • Authorities say the nightclub wasn't properly equipped with safety devices
  • Suriya Ritrabue is the main shareholder of the company that owned Santika club
  • He turned himself into police investigating New Year's Eve fire Monday
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BANGKOK, Thailand (CNN) -- A Bangkok nightclub owner turned himself in to police Monday as the death toll from a catastrophic New Year's fire continued to rise.

Rescue officials survey the scene of the nightclub fire in Bangkok, Thailand.

Rescue officials survey the scene of the nightclub fire in Bangkok, Thailand.

The fire at the upscale Santika nightclub broke out early Thursday while about 1,000 revelers were ringing in the new year.

Suriya Ritrabue, the main shareholder of the company that owned Santika, turned himself over to police early Monday morning after authorities reported at least 64 people had died as a result of the fire.

All fatalities have been identified, two were Singaporean and one was Japanese, with the majority being Thais, according to police.

Most of the victims that died after hospitalization sustained severe burns and some fell into comas, police said.

Hospital officials said more than 40 of the 229 injured survivors were foreign nationals.

Police are gathering statements from survivors and physical evidence from the scene in what they describe is an ongoing investigation.

Authorities have said the nightclub wasn't properly equipped with safety devices, noting a lack of sprinklers and poorly displayed exit signs.

Police also said they are investigating whether people younger than 20 were allowed into the nightclub, which is prohibited by Thai law, and criminal negligence, which carries up to a 10-year sentence.

There was no immediate response from Suriya or his representatives. But one of his partners, Visuk Setsawad, told the Thai newspaper Matichon that he has apologized to all victims and relatives and that the owners will set up a fund for the dead and injured. The fire was "out of expectation," he said.

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The blaze started near a stage where fireworks were being used as part of a performance on the club's closing night, police said.

The club is located in one of Bangkok's busiest commercial districts. The theme of Santika New Year's party was "Goodbye Santika."

CNN's Kocha Olarn contributed to this report.

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