PHUKET: Fireworks explosions can clearly be seen in the latest video from tonight's massive SuperCheap store blaze in the heart of Phuket City.
Police have said they think it's highly likely that people were inside at the time the blaze broke out.
Kusoldharm Phuket Foundation workers were on standby, waiting to enter the building, and also expecting to find bodies.
At Phuket City's vachira Phuket Hospital, a succession of injured people were being treated. But they were reluctant to talk about their escapes, or, like one Burmese boy, could not speak Thai.
The store is known to be particularly popular with Phuket's large Burmese population and scores of Burmese workers were employed there.
Phuket's annual Vegetarian Festival - a feast of fireworks - concluded on Sunday night.
The blaze was still burning well after 11pm tonight with the column of flames visible from all over Phuket City.
The Director of Phuket City (Muang) District, Chuopachai Phochakul, said tonight that he had been told the building and its contents were insured for 900 million baht.
SuperCheap is a Phuket family business, with the headquarters in Phuket City's Thepkasattri Road a traditional and popular destination for shoppers from all over the island.
The chaos of the maze of aisles is what makes shopping at SuperCheap different. Finding your way out becomes part of the fun - at leasy until tonight.
In 2011, SuperCheap surged to 25 round-the-clock convenience outlets across Phuket in just over 12 months, taking on Tops, Tesco, 7-Eleven and Family Mart.
It was a matter of survival, says the family behind the iconic Phuket brand.
Supercheap's manager of the 16-year operation, Boonsom Anantajaroonwong, admitted to Phuketwan back then that his family saw their business under attack from brands on every corner and decided to join in.
Unlike the franchise operations, SuperCheap owns its outlets. Khun Boonsom says that SuperCheap generates 3-4 billion baht in turnover these days, another indication that Phuket is a prosperous place.
Long gone is the era before the arrival of the first supermarket on Phuket when expat residents would spend the best part of a whole day going from store to store to stock up the supplies they can now find with ease while pushing a wire mesh trolley.
Perhaps the biggest blaze ever on Phuket was the tantalum refinery fire. On June 23, 1986, after a petition against the refinery was ignored, the people of Phuket took the law into their own hands.
They rioted, and burned down the tantalum factory.
Estimates of the numbers involved in the riot vary from 10,000 to as many as 70,000.
The Industry Minister at the time, Chirayu Isararangkun, arrived on Phuket but was so alarmed by the angry crowd that greeted him he fled Phuket immediately.
A report of the incident said: ''Angry rioters prevented any kind of police or fire rescue response to the arson, blocking access to the burning refinery and even overturning fire trucks as the new plant went up in flames and was destroyed.
''As a result of the Phuket riot over possible air and water contamination from tantalum refining, the National Environmental Quality Act was enacted by the Thailand government, creating a five billion baht environmental fund for clean-ups and giving authority to the central government for development regulation.
''Part of this act provided one billion baht for clean-up and regulation of development on the island of Phuket.''