CHIANG RAI – As investigators are still trying to piecing together what caused the fire at the girls dormitory at Pitakiatwittaya School in Wiang Pa Pao district, School Director Rewat Wassana revealed to the Thai press that the dormitory run by the Panthakit Suksan Foundation was not equipped with a single smoke detectors.
School Director Rewat Wassana revealed in an interview with Khaosod that smoke detectors were never installed in the dormitory where the 38 young girls slept.
Despite the blatant violation of fire safety regulations which mandates smoke detectors and fire alarms, police have yet to lay charges over the tragedy that killed 17 children.
Forensic fire investigators have declined to confirm if the fire was caused by a faulty neon light in an activity room. It’s speculated that it melted and dripped onto four piles of clothes below then ignited.
Chiang Rai police Commander Thanayin Thepraksa said no one has been charged with any crime because police needed more time to complete their investigation.
He told reporters to be patient as the forensics department had not yet given their report and there were still many witnesses to be questioned, and crime scene evidence to be processed.
Thirty-eight girls were sleeping in the room when a fire broke out at about 11pm on Sunday. Sixteen died in the fire. One 11-year-old girl, Pornnapa Pisailert, reportedly died after leaping from the second floor dorm and breaking her neck.
An Eleven-year-old survivor Suchada Kong-asa said she had woken up to use the toilet downstairs when she discovered the fire, which was already burning fiercely.
Suchada luckily escaped that blaze suffering burns to her hands and feet.
Five of the girls were buried Thursday. The remains of 12 are still being identified by forensic examiners.
Unfortunately fire hazard are a frequent issue in Thailand, fire safety regulations are poorly enforced and often just ignored.
By Teeranai Charuvastra