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Inferno wipes out Phuket slum, leaving scores homeless



Inferno wipes out Phuket slum, leaving scores homeless | Thaiger

PHUKET: A massive fire broke out in a slum in the Ban Buntham community off Prabaramee Rd in Patong last night. The blaze erupted at about 10pm and incinerated many apartment rooms, shanties and other makeshift dwellings, but there were no reports of injuries.

It took more than an hour for ten fire trucks and 40 firemen, drawn from as far away as Phuket Town, to extinguish the inferno, officers from the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) said at the scene.

Supaporn ‘Kae’ Lomasney, 28, told the Phuket Gazette: “I heard two huge explosions from gas tanks just outside the back of my room. I opened the back door and saw enormous fire coming from the shanties in Soi Slum [just four or five meters away].

“A woman was screaming ‘FIRE FIRE’, so I ran out of the room without taking anything.”

The owner of Supaporn’s apartment, Wassana Kahapana, said that most of the people living in the slum were Burmese, and that, “They always collect trash and other things for sale,” much of it inflammable and easily ignited.

Scores of now homeless dwellers in the slum were given tents by Patong municipality officers early this morning. With most of their dwellings now irreparable, it is not clear where they will go from here.

Kathu police, firemen and DDPM officers were still at the scene this morning, examining the ruins in hopes of finding the cause of the disaster.

— Atchaa Khamlo


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