PHUKET, Oct 17 – Phuket’s deputy governors have inspected the scene where a fire raged through a hypermarket, and reported that one department store staff is missing in the blaze.
Phuket deputy governors Somkiat Sangkhaosutthirak, Chamroen Tipayapongtada and Sommai Prijasilpa visited the headquarters of the SuperCheap department store on Thepkasattri Road at Rassada subdistrict in the provincial seat.
SuperCheap employee Ta Chookham, age 24, a saleswoman, is reported missing.
Witnesses heard cries of help from inside the building, and explosions continued to rock the facility hours after the fire started.
One woman who was shopping inside when the fire broke out said “There was no fire alarm. Everybody just started running for the door”.
For more than 10 hours firefighters battled the blaze which began around 9.30pm last night. The fire was still burning underneath the rubble forcing the continued spraying of water to keep fire under control.
An early report said a short circuit started the fire, which spread to the firecracker section of the store. Another report said gas tanks had been ignited by the short circuit.
One witness who happened to be driving by said, “There were people screaming and trying to leave the area. I saw a lot of ambulances as well from all around the island”.
The huge store is a popular shopping center in Phuket, selling everything imaginable
The province set up an emergency help center to receive requests for assistance and information on missing persons in the incident.
Provincial authorities deployed 500 police to provide security, conduct traffic and prevent possible looting from the debris.
Apart from the warehouse that was burnt, the fire also spread to damage some nearby homes and shops.