Khon Kaen governor Somsak Jangtrakul on Tuesday morning led police and related officials to inspect a private school building in Tambon Ban Ped of Muang district, which had been partially collapsed during a hail and rain storm on Monday afternoon, killing a four-year-old girl.
Somsak revealed that an initial survey found that the building construction failed to precisely follow the approved plan.
During the storm at around 4pm on Monday, three kindergartners were waiting for their parents in the company of some teachers at an open atrium in the three-storey building. A section from the top of the concrete wall suddenly fell on them from an 8-metre height, resulting in the death of the 4-year old and injuries to two pupils and two adult including the deceased girl’s father.
An inspection of the sealed scene, which still had debris on its floor, found the building’s construction had deviated from the approved plan, said Somsak.
“The part where the concrete wall and ceiling fell down should have been a solid wall according to the plan, but was installed with glass windows,” he said citing that a team from the Public Works and Town and Country Planning Office would later conduct a detailed inspection of the building.
In order to prevent a recurrence of the tragedy, Somsak said he would also have the provincial education office suspended classes at the school, and the damaged building would be closed to any use. He would also ask the provincial education office to have all schools check the structural stability of their buildings as a safety precaution.
Thanyawalai Panna, who had obtained the licence for the school, apologized on behalf of the school for the tragedy and said she was saddened by what had happened. She said the school would take responsibility for the affected families of the deceased and the wounded.
However, she insisted that the school building’s construction was according to the original plan.
Ban Ped superintendent Pol Colonel Prawit Toha said police had initially interviewed the school executives but hadn't yet filed any charges against anyone pending a detailed building inspection.
There were also various points to cover, he said, including whether the building design was met engineering standards, and whether the building’s construction was legal. Police would obtain the plan from Tambon Ban Ped Municipality to compare with the school building owner's plan to see if there were any discrepancies, he said.
Construction of the building began in 2013 and was completed the following year and opened for operations. There were 40 teachers and staff and nearly 400 students from pre-school level to Prathom 4.