CHIANG RAI – Thailand’s Prime Minister Gen.Prayut Chano-o-cha has expressed his condolences to the seventeen families of the children who lost their lives in the fire at Pitakkiat Wittaya School, Chiang Rai’s Wiang Pa Pao district.
Gen.Prayut instructed relevant units to urgently raise awareness about fire safety and inspect fire prevention systems of buildings nationwide.
The PM said relevant units needed to designate the responsible parties, make an incident action plan and prepare equipment in case of fire and other emergencies.
Seventeen girls from the ages of five to 13 years old were killed by the fire at the dormitory of Phitakkiat Witthaya School on 22 May 2016.
Police questioned witnesses on Tuesday, and said they had not yet reached a conclusion on the cause of the fire.
We still need to gather evidence from the scene first on what caused this and whether this was due to negligence, said district police chief Prayad Singsin.
A forensics officer told reporters evidence pointed to a loose light bulb melting on the ground floor of the two-storey building, causing the fire that killed the girls in the dormitory above.
The Phanthakit Suksan Foundation which runs the school said the families of the fire’s victimsÂ and the injured will receive compensation from the schoolâ€™s insurance policy, the families of the deceased will each receive THB200,000 and the injured will recieve THB10,000 to each.
Meanwhile, Minister of Social Development and Human Security Pol. Gen. Adul Saengsingkaeo said he had instructed the provincial social development and human security office to work with the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Public Health in searching for relatives of the victims.
Measures to prevent a fire accident must be imposed with a focus on inspection of electrical machines, fire exits, fire alarms and fire control plans, said the minister.
The minister added that the Dormitory Act B.E. 2015 must be seriously enforced and there must be fire safety training. All provinces nationwide must follow the ministryâ€™s guidelines to prevent fire accidents.
By Suwit Rattiwan