Arson possible cause of Cherng Talay blaze
CHERNG TALAY: Tum Salathai, a seafood restaurant on the entry road to Laguna Phuket, burned to the ground in the early hours of Wednesday. Police are investigating arson as one of two possible causes of the blaze. Restaurant manager Weerachai Srabua told the Gazette today that the blaze started at about 4 am. “People outside noticed the fire. They ran inside and woke up a waiter who was sleeping inside at the time. The police and fire department took about an hour to arrive, which was too late. The restaurant was completely gutted by the time they arrived because the thatch roof burned very quickly,” he said. He also told the Gazette that he had been unable to get through to the Cherng Talay Fire Department by telephone to report the fire because nobody at the station answered the phone. So he called the Cherng Talay Police, who had to drive to the fire station to report the fire. K Weerachai estimated the damage at 1.2 million baht. “I think the fire started in the front of the place. I didn’t see anything wrong with the electrical circuits. If the fire had started out back near the kitchen, the gas tanks inside probably would have exploded,” he said. K Weerachai told the Gazette that he wasn’t sure if the blaze was a case of arson or not, but didn’t rule out the possibility. He said he didn’t know if the owner had any enemies. Surprisingly, Wirot “Tum” Tintarchar, a partner in Tum Salathai, said that he wasn’t worried about the fire. “We [Wirot and his foreign partner] aren’t worried. We will not rebuild the place. We were going to sell it anyway because it wasn’t a successful business.” He did not say whether or not the building was insured. Cherng Talay Pol Capt Prakob Boonkwan, duty officer at the time of the fire, said officers were investigating the cause. “We are focusing our investigation on two possibilities – an electrical short or arson,” he said.
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