90% of Phuket’s SuperCheap fire zone cleared

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PHUKET, Oct 20 – Fire suppression efforts at the SuperCheap department store in this southern resort province have progressed around 90 per cent and is expected to be completed by the end of the day.

The blaze began last Wednesday night at a local department store on Thepkasattri Road in the provincial seat. Thirty-five rai of land has been damaged.

Acting Second Lt Trakul Totham, chief of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Regional Center 18 Phuket, said backhoe trucks were used to lead local fire trucks in to extinguish the fire.

After the fire is completely put out, forensic science authorities will collect evidence and the local municipality will declare the area a disaster zone from fire for 45 days. There have not been any reports of death casualties so far, he said.

Representatives from US and South Korea insurance companies will fly over to inspect the fire zone next week. Estimation of damages is expected to take at least one month.

Meanwhile, Phuket governor Maitree Intusut said he is concerned for the health of local residents in communities located nearby the blazed department store and asked all related parties to join a meeting on Tuesday to discuss how to quickly manage fire-related matters out of fear that the incident could have short and long-term impacts to local communities.

On a related note, Padungkiat Utoksenee, a Phuket provincial seat Public Health official, said Vachira Phuket Hospital today sent a medical team to watch over the mental health of local people and collect urine and blood samples of residents living around the fire zone for testing and record-keeping after over 20 people became affected through their blood circulation and respiratory systems.

Those having health problems as a result of the fire can contact hotline no.1669 for further assistance.