BANGKOK, JAN. 1 -- At least 13 persons, including one American, were killed when a fire swept through a hotel in Bangkok filled with people celebrating the new year early today, police and fire department officials reported.
The American was identified by a friend as Daniel James Ryan of Jacksonville, Ark. Ryan had come to Bangkok last night from Saudi Arabia, where he worked as an aircraft mechanic for the Boeing Co.
An Australian woman of Vietnamese origin died when she fell while trying to board a rescue helicopter on the roof of the nine-story First Hotel.
Police said seven other victims were from Singapore, two from Malaysia and one from Taiwan. One was unidentified.
The casualties were among scores killed or injured worldwide in New Year's-related celebrations or mishaps.
Fire Chief Chongsane Suwajinda told reporters the fire seemed to have started on the second floor, which has several large reception rooms and a massage parlor.
Survivors said two parties still were going on when the fire broke out at about 4 a.m.
December is peak tourist season in Thailand, and the 214-room hotel was filled.
News services reported the following:
In Manila, celebrators greeted 1988 in a frenzy of fireworks, tire fires, gunfire and drunken brawls in which 11 people were killed and 1,225 injured, authorities said.
Hours before the end of 1987, the streets crackled with the bursts of firecrackers and other illegal pyrotechnics, which caused most injuries. By midnight, the noise was deafening.
The air reeked of gunpowder and the city was shrouded in smoke from fireworks and hundreds of bonfires made with old tires.
The death toll was slightly less than last year, when 13 people were killed and 1,400 injured.
In High Wycombe, in southern England, police wielding riot shields used dogs to help contain rioting among black and white youths during New Year's celebrations.
Fighting broke out in the town center among about 100 youths who went on a rampage, putting a pub under siege, looting a shop and smashing windows before police said they were able to stop the violence and arrest 26 people.
About 300 people were arrested during celebrations in other parts of Britain, including 140 in London's Trafalgar Square, where 100,000 revelers gathered.
A flash fire caused by leaking gas turned a family New Year's party into tragedy early Friday in Brandizzo, a small town 12 miles northeast of Turin in northern Italy, killing two women and injuring 15 other people, including a 3-year-old boy listed in "desperate" condition.
Police identified the two dead as Carmela Bambino, 24, and Maria Dalmianto Singhetto, 29.
"People were rushing out . . . with their clothes, skin and hair on fire. Many of them were naked, with their clothes burned off," said Giuseppe Rossi, one of the first rescuers to reach the scene. "It was a terrible scene."
The fire occurred at 1 a.m. as the 17 guests were dancing in a garage attached to a villa.
Witnesses said an electric heating stove ignited gas leaking from a gas cylinder, which acted like a flame thrower, spurting flame at the dancers and setting fire to furniture taken into the garage for the occasion.
A 14-year-old boy was killed and 131 people injured as thousands of people in and around Naples set off fireworks and fired guns to welcome the new year, police said.
Police said Salvatore Moroni died in a hospital on Friday after being hit in the face by a shotgun blast as he watched fireworks from the balcony of his home just outside the city.
Most of the injured were burned by fireworks, many of them imported illegally from China.