Hundreds of caged animals died on Tuesday after a fire struck Chatuchak Weekend Market, one of the most famous markets in Thailand’s capital.

The fire was reported early in the morning and quickly swept across more than 100 shops in the market’s pet section, according to the Bangkok government.

The fire is believed to have started in the ornamental fish zone in Srisomrat Market, near the bigger Chatuchak, around 4:00am local time, according to Tivakorn Prongseng, a police inspector investigating the case.

Chickens, which survived a fire at a pet market next to Chatuchak market, are seen in Bangkok on Tuesday. Photo: AFP

Officials said it took them about an hour to bring the fire under control.

There are no reports of human casualties, but Thai media reports suggested the fire killed several hundred animals, including puppies, fish, snakes, birds and rabbits, kept in cages and locked inside the shops.

The cause of the fire is being investigated, said Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt, who visited the scene after the fire was put out.

Firefighters walk through the wreckage and debris after a fire at a pet market next to Chatuchak market in Bangkok on Tuesday. Photo: AFP

Officials could be seen at the site in the morning, inspecting the charred shops or breaking metal gates to bring out animals that survived the fire.

Officials said they are still working on estimating the cost of damage, and that affected shop owners could register for compensation.

The sprawling weekend market is a major tourist draw, bringing in shoppers from all over the world to browse its hundreds of shops and stalls for items ranging from food and drink to clothing, furniture, plants, books and pets.

An animal seller looks at the remains of exotic animals killed in a fire in a pets and exotic animals shop in Bangkok. Photo: EPA-EFE

Sittipunt said people could help affected shop owners by offering to house surviving animals.

Fires have previously damaged sections of the neighbouring, tightly packed Chatuchak market.

Wildlife organizations have often accused some vendors of involvement in the trafficking of rare and endangered species, such as turtles, tortoises and birds.