17 killed by school dormitory fire in Thailand

  • Fire broke out at Pithakkiart Witthaya school in Northern Thailand.
  • At least 17 girls aged between five and 12 confirmed dead, with several still missing.

At least 17 schoolgirls have died and several others unaccounted for after a major fire broke out in a dormitory at a school in Northern Thailand. Local police have said the fire started early on Sunday evening while many of the girls, aged between five and 12, were asleep. Nearly all the girls come from local tribal villages.

Police Colonel Prayad Singsin said the cause of the fire is still under investigation, stating that 17 were confirmed dead and five injured. Another local official claimed 38 students had been in the dormitory at the Pithakkiart Witthaya school when the fire started. DNA tests are being carried out to confirm the identities of the victims.

The two-storey school in the Wiang Pa Pao district was shown on local media consumed by fire, with fire-fighters attempting to get the incident under control.

Arkom Sukapan, the deputy governor of the region, said some students were able to escape because they were still awake when the fire broke out. “… others were asleep and could not escape resulting in the large number of casualties,” Sukapan said.

The search continues for the missing girls.

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