School dormitory fire kills 17 girls

AFP May 24,2016 - 12:02 PM

Bangkok, Thailand — At least 17 young girls died after a fire swept through the dormitory of a school for children of hill tribes in northern Thailand, officials said yesterday, adding several others were either missing or injured.

The fire started late at night, meaning many of the children were asleep and unable to escape as flames engulfed the two-story building.

“The fire broke out at 11 p.m. on Sunday. Seventeen girls were killed and two are still missing, with five injured,” Colonel Prayad Singsin of the police in Chiang Rai told AFP.

Two of the injured are in a serious condition, he added.

“The fire is out, but the cause of the blaze is still under investigation,” Prayad said, adding forensic officers were due to arrive yesterday.

A Chiang Rai provincial official confirmed the death toll, adding that the privately-run school is home to girls aged between six and 13 years old, drawn mainly from the deprived local hill tribes.

“There were 38 students inside the dormitory when the fire broke out. Some were not yet asleep so they escaped,” the province’s deputy governor, Arkom Sukapan, told AFP.

“But others were asleep and could not escape, resulting in the large number of casualties.”

Photographs on the school’s Facebook page showed firefighters struggling to douse the flames as they tore through the wooden building.

Thai media showed a fire truck spraying water onto the blaze as the upper story of the school was consumed by the fire.

Rescue workers picked through the debris late Sunday and into Monday morning.

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TAGS: casualty, dormitory, fire, Thailand, tragedy

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