Townhouse collapse in central Thailand raises safety concerns

Picture courtesy of KhaoSod

A devastating incident occurred as a two-storey townhouse collapsed, causing damage to multiple properties in central Thailand. The calamity took place within the Teacher’s Village in Ban Khlong Suan, Phra Samut Chedi District, Samut Prakan last night. The authorities were alerted and emergency response teams were dispatched to assess the situation and provide assistance.

The area, roughly 5 kilometres from Wat Chankeawphet on the right side of Pracha Uthit Road, consists of 50 two-storey townhouses, divided into two clusters of 25. The collapse began from the left cluster, affecting four properties.

The damage was most severe at the rear of the houses, where kitchens and bathrooms were located. Fragments of bricks and plaster were scattered across the front of the properties, with walls and windows shattered, leaning towards the back of the houses.

The disaster response teams from Ban Khlong Suan Subdistrict Administration Organisation (SAO) closed off the site, prohibiting anyone unrelated to the incident from accessing the affected houses. The homeowners were barred from retrieving their belongings due to safety concerns surrounding potential further collapse.

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One of the homeowners, 63 year old Lek, revealed that he had purchased the property from a retired teacher approximately 20 years ago for 500,000 baht (US$14,489). Initially, he lived there with his children and wife, totalling five to six people. However, over the past two to three years, as his children moved out, he lived alone.

He began noticing unusual sounds from an adjoining, uninhabited house around mid-October last year. The sounds occurred intermittently, sometimes every hour, other times two to three times a day.

On the day of the incident, at around 7.30pm yesterday, while watching television, he heard the same sounds resonating from his own house. Upon inspection, he noticed a significant amount of plaster falling from the rear of his house.

A neighbour alerted him to evacuate his home. As he was escaping, he heard the house shaking two to three times and managed to leap out of a window, narrowly escaping death but sustaining a painful foot injury.

After the incident, he plans to stay with his children while the authorities inspect the structure. He expressed worries about his belongings left inside the house, having escaped with only a set of clothing and a mobile phone, reported KhaoSod.

At 11pm, Dr Thanet Weerasiri, adviser to the Engineering Institute of Thailand, along with experts, arrived at the scene to investigate. They hypothesised that the collapse might have been caused by the base of the houses sinking.

One of the houses, notably more sunken than the others, seemed to have pulled the adjoining ones down with it. The authorities planned to bring in equipment to measure the sinking levels of the houses and warn homeowners not to enter their properties.

The disaster prevention and mitigation officials cordoned off the area and warned individuals unrelated to the incident to stay away for their safety. They also coordinated with the police of Ban Khlong Suan Police Station to prevent theft from the damaged houses.

Boonleurd Saengphan, a member of the House of Representatives for Samut Prakan District 7, posted a Facebook status reporting the incident and expressing concern about the assistance required from related agencies. He indicated that the old houses, over 20 years old, had some still under mortgage.

The Provincial Public Works and Town & Country Planning Office of Samut Prakan were set to inspect the cause of the collapse. Pinij Termboon, the chairman of Ban Khlong Suan SAO, planned to assist the affected homeowners. The team of the House of Representatives pledged to closely monitor the assistance in this case.

Thailand News

Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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