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Phuket News: Inaction over Tiger inferno sparks fire-safety blitz

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: The lack of follow-up on fire safety standards more than a month after the deadly Tiger Discotheque inferno on August 17 that killed four people, has prompted Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha to launch a campaign to improve fire safety at large public venues across the island.

Governor Tri told the Phuket Gazette that he had already called on the heads of Phuket’s three District Offices to boost their fire-prevention measures. “I have also asked the District Office chiefs to step up building fire safety inspections in their respective areas,” he added.

However, top of the governor’s list are entertainment venues where large crowds gather.

“I am calling all business operators of large venues in Phuket to come to meetings where we can explain to them what the law requires in terms of fire safety and building regulations. We have started with night entertainment venues first, because the operators of those kinds of businesses seem to not fully understand building safety standards,” Gov Tri said.

“They should be aware that there will be regular inspections. If they fail to meet any of the criteria, we will have no choice but to order them to close until the problem is fixed,” he warned.

Among the “criteria” is a regulation introduced in March this year limiting the amount of light or flammable materials used in building or decorating large venues, such as the foam used in making the original iconic Tiger Disco decor.

Initial reports by fire investigators identified the foam as one of the main contributors to the spread of the deadly fire last month.

Although the operators of Tiger Disco admitted that much of the original decor at the ill-fated nightclub was made from highly flammable foam when the venue was built 10 years ago, they later claimed that much of it was replaced by concrete features in order to comply with the new regulation.

To this, Governor Tri is granting large venue operators 180 days to make all necessary modifications to their buildings in order to meet all building safety requirements.

“We have spoken to some of the entertainment venue business owners in Phuket Town and in Patong, including Tiger Group. Those we have already spoken with have been given 180 days to change or modify their structures.

“We will go back and check every three months after the [180-day] deadline to ensure that they are still complying with the required laws,” he said.

After the key entertainment venues on the island are brought under closer scrutiny, next on the list are shopping malls and convenience stores.

“I am not too worried about them since the safety measures they already have in place are much better than the entertainment venues. They even have their buildings inspected once a year. They seem to follow the law quite well and have good safety precautions, but still, they have to be inspected once a year,” Gov Tri said.

However, he added that government officers who approve building permits for structures that breach fire regulations will also be in the firing line.

“If we find out that the building permit is not right, not only will the building owner be held responsible, but also the person who signed off as approving it,” he told the Gazette.

Governor Tri cited Patong Municipality as an example for being responsible for approving the building permit for the Tiger Discotheque.

“They [Patong Municipality officers] publicly announced that they lost all documents for building permission during a big flood [in 2003]. That still doesn’t answer the question whether or not the building was legally approved to build.

“I will not accept any accusation [that an illegal extension was added to the original Tiger Discotheque structure] unless I can see the paper to prove it. I have appointed one committee from the Provincial Office to investigate Patong Municipality regarding the issue,” he said.

— Chaiyot Yongcharoenchai

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Phuket

Phuket sets quarantine requirement for those entering the province, some exempt

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via PR Phuket

A 14-day period in quarantine is required for those entering Phuket who are either not vaccinated against the coronavirus or have not been tested for Covid-19 within 72 hours of arrival.

Phuket Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong made the announcement yesterday, adding they will no longer require Covid-19 tests on arrival. Phuket News notes that the required tests were problematic, particularly for truck drivers who were delivering essential items to the island on a regular basis.

“If you stay in Phuket shorter than 14 days, then you will be in quarantine as long as you stay on the island… From today on, no rapid tests anymore. Arrivals without any documents must get the quarantine order at the checkpoint.”

Piyapong says staff from the Phuket Public Health Office will hand out quarantine orders to those entering the province. The a copy of the order will be sent to the Emergency Operation Centre, which will follow up with those who are in quarantine at their homes or hotels.

The main Phuket checkpoint will only be open from 8:30am to 8:30pm. Only delivery vehicles can enter outside of those hours.

Those only entering Phuket for a short day trip are exempt from the quarantine rule, according to the Phuket News.

SOURCE: Phuket News

 

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Phuket

Fishermen find space debris off the coast of Phuket

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ Phuket Andaman News

Local fishermen found space debris, possibly from a satellite or space shuttle, on the seabed just 6 metres below the surface by Koh Ael in Phuket. At first, no one knew exactly what it was.

Specialists from a Navy explosive ordinance disposal unit were first called to look at the round, hollow metal object which was about 45 centimetres in diameter. 3rd Naval Area commander Vice Admiral Choengchai Chomchoengpaet told reporters at a press conference that the team took photos of the object and found it appeared to be a rocket fuel tank, possibly used to launch a satellite or shuttle into space. He said it matched photos online.

Both the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency, or GISTDA, and the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand, agree that the object was most likely a fuel tank for a rocket.

Since the fuel tanks usually contain harmful chemicals like ammonia or hydrogen, divers examined the space debris to make sure there were no chemical leaks before bringing the object to shore and taken to the navy headquarters. The space debris will be taken to the GISTDA to be studied.

“If other objects similar to this one are found elsewhere, people should not touch them. They could contain hazardous chemicals. They should immediately inform Region 3 Thai-MECC or local officials.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Phuket

Phuket police search for foreigners who were seen drinking beer at a restaurant

Tanutam Thawan

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Stock photo by Tembela Bohle for Pexels

Phuket officials are serious about disease control orders banning parties and gatherings with friends, especially when alcohol is involved. They’re so serious, that apparently they’re searching for 4 foreigners who were seen drinking beers at a restuarant in Rawai.

Police raided the restaurant yesterday at a complaint from a woman who works for the local district office. She was out on a campaign pushing for locals to wear face masks when she noticed that some people were sitting at the Roxanne restuarant, having a beer. Photos as well as a video was sent to the police showing a group of 4 foreign men and 2 Thai women sitting at the restaurant together.

Along with police officers, local officials from the Muang District Office and Rawai Municipality showed up to the restuarant. Reports say the men were seen driving off on motorcycles just as as the team of 10 officers and public officials arrived. The beer was still on the table when police arrived.

Officers took the owner of the restaurant and 4 of the employees to the Chalong Police Station. The owner is facing charges of breach of the provincial order banning the sale of alcohol and allowing the consumption of alcohol on the premises.

Just last week, police raided a home in Cherngtalay, breaking up a gathering of 6 people. 2 men from the UK who work in Phuket were taken to the police station and fined 6,000 baht whilst police were still waiting for another 4 people to present themselves at the police station.

As part of the disease control measures to contain the spread of Covid-19, preparing Phuket for a possible Covid and quarantine-free reopening in July, officials have banned social activities and gatherings, with the expection of traditional events like funerals. Phuket authorities have warned that foreign residents who break the rules could be subject to being deported.

SOURCE: Phuket News

Phuket police search for foreigners who were seen drinking beer at a restaurant | News by Thaiger

 

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