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Inside Phuket's Tiger Disco, a charred wreck today after a deadly fire

Phuket Disco Killer Blaze 'Fed on Highly Flammable Foam'

Monday, August 20, 2012
PHUKET: Highly flammable foam was used as insulation around the elevated dance balcony where four people died in Friday's after-hours inferno at Phuket's Tiger Discotheque.

An expert said similar unsuitable foam had also been used at the Santika Pub in Bangkok, where more than 60 people died on New Year's Eve 2009.

As Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha and officials toured the desolate disco this afternoon, a picture began to emerge of the reasons why the deadly blaze had not been prevented.

There were seven fire exits but some required patrons to hurdle a balcony railing before descending ladders.

As for the foam, used as insulation to reduce disco noise, Dr Bundit Pradabsook of the Association of Siamese Architects said 20 percent of the building was spray-on foam when 10 percent was the legal maximum.

The foam used was expansion polystyrene, inappropriate because it burned rapidly instead of being slow-burning and resistant to temperatures up to 750 degrees, as the appropriate foam would have been.

Two sets of concrete stairs run to the the dance balcony that surrounds the dance floor. Two bodies were found at the top of each of the stairways.

Wasawat Kitsiriteeraphak, of the Building Safety Inspectors and Officers Association, said that the building had no fire detectors and no sprinkler system.

What has yet to be revealed is when the foam was installed in the 13-year-old building and whether Phuket authorities should have checked it and detected that it was the wrong kind before the deadly fire.

Phuketwan sought an answer from Lerpong Tanamanset, Technical Director of the Patong municipal council.

Q: When did you last check for safety at the Tiger Disco?

A: I don't know.

Q: Aren't you concerned for the safety of tourists or do you not have enough staff?

A: This is actually the job of Phuket Provincial officials.

Q: But the fire happened in Patong. Have you been talking with other authorities about the safety of venues in Patong?

A: We never have time to talk.

Q: You mean the owners of businesses set their own safety standards?

A: They have to take care of themselves. This is their business so they must make sure there is a good standard.

Phuketwan then spoke to the Civil Works Chief of Phuket Province, Arjsuk Keesornsin.

Q: Did you check this issue of safety or not?

A: In the past, we haven't checked clubs, discos and bars, but we have checked the resorts. You need to talk to the Phuket Provincial Office [the Governor's office] or the Director of the Kathu District [which oversees Patong].

Earlier in the day at Bangkok Hospital Phuket, where Governor Tri visited a patient who had broken a leg jumping from the upstairs disco, Governor Tri said he recollected checking the Tiger Disco years ago when he was a Phuket vice governor.

Later, when asked a similar question at the Tiger Disco, he deferred the question to Patong Police Superintendent Colonel Jirapat Pollchanaphan, who was appointed in mid-June.

''I don't have that information at this stage,'' the colonel said. ''I will find out.''

Dr Bundit - who suspects an electrical fault may have caused the fire - said he will reveal more about his inspection of the disco tomorrow, in Bangkok.

The Assistant Managing Director of the Tiger group, Sema Sinchai, said the group would compensate each of the four families of the dead with one million baht.

The group had already paid two million baht to 10 people for hospital bills and compensation. The group had also spent 500,000 baht on a helicopter to airlift a badly burned Frenchman from Phuket to a hospital in Bangkok, he said.

The cost of sending a police officer by air to Bangkok with DNA samples for testing had also been met, he said.

The four bodies are being examined by pathologists at the Police General Hospital, with an announcement about their identitiy expected tomorrow on the basis of the DNA samples.

Next Friday, a week on from the tragedy, the new Tiger Live Band complex in Patong's Soi Bangla walking street will have its grand opening, Khun Sema said.

A memorial candle-lit commemoration is to be held tonight at the site of the fire in Soi Bangla at 2.39am precisely, with candles and flowers provided to anyone wishing to participate.

Governor Tri said today that there were three key issues being investigated:

..whether the disco closed on time or not, and if not, why;

..what permits for construction had been issued, and when;

..the reason why the fire broke out and the cause of it becoming deadly.

Results of the investigation should be available within two or three days, he said.

Comments

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"Next Friday, a week on from the tragedy, the new Tiger Live Band complex in Patong's Soi Bangla walking street will have its grand opening, Khun Sema said."

Amazxing schedule!

Posted by ??? on August 20, 2012 19:26

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The polystyrene was major cause in the Santika incident for spreading so fast and was supposed to have been dealt with.
Obviously building and safety inspectors are not doing there jobs.

Posted by Michael on August 20, 2012 20:33

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Any info why the memorial is to be held at 2.39am precisely ?

Great timing for the grand opening. Perhaps this is not the best of moments for business promotions.

I for sure will NOT be attending.

Posted by Andrew on August 20, 2012 22:55

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Ok, not only sniping. I like the tiger management is hands on in helping the victims and its staff. Good they have some money to spend specially on the highly critical wounded. Burning wounds may take years if ever. But some people need to go to jail and the safety no-goers should all at least loose their jobs. "We never talked - we never checked - not my line of work."

Phuket does not deserve this kind of civil servants. Really not.

Posted by Lena on August 20, 2012 23:08

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A good report, factual and well presented. Keep up the good work phuket Wan

Posted by John D on August 20, 2012 23:18


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