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Bangkok club fire toll lowered to 58

BANGKOK, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- The death toll from a New Year's Day fire in a Bangkok nightclub has been revised downward to 58 with 100 revelers injured, police said.

About 1,000 partiers were welcoming the new year at the Santika nightclub in the Thong Lo district of the Thai capital when fire erupted shortly after midnight, CNN reported.

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Original reports indicated 59 died and closer to 200 were injured. No reason was given for lowering the estimates.

Steven Hall, a British national injured in the blaze, told CNN flames began to spread along the ceiling above a stage during a performance, and some patrons apparently believed the blaze was part of the act.

"At the same time there were people rushing to get out, there were other people who seemed to be lacking a sense of urgency and didn't seem to realize what was going on," Hall said.

The blaze started near a stage where fireworks were being used as part of a performance, Bangkok Police Maj. Gen. Chokchai Deeprasertwit said.

"It may have been caused from sparks, but we don't know if it was sparks from guests or from the nightclub's countdown display on the nightclub stage," the police official said.

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Most of those who died in the building were killed by smoke inhalation or were trampled in a rush to escape, officials said.

Most of the fatalities were Thai but some foreigners were reported among the dead, the Bangkok Post said. Officials said most of the bodies were found in the club's basement.

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