Fire destroys 61 houses on Phang Nga's Surin island
A fire swept through a Morgan or sea gypsy community of on Surin Island in Phang Nga on Sunday night, destroying 61 houses, the provincial governor said.
Phang Nga governor Siripat Pattanakul was informed of the fire in Tambon Koh Phra Thong in Kura Buri district at 8pm.
The governnor said a family was repairing a boat engine under a house when it exploded, causing a fire that quickly spread to other wooden houses nearby fanned by a strong wind.
No one was injured in the blaze. The governor added that only 17 houses and the community school escaped the fire.
Officials from the Mu Koh Surin National Park provided immediate help, evacuating elderly people, women and children to a temporary shelter at Chong Khao Khad bay.
At 10 pm Sunday, Siripat and Rear Adm Nanthapol Malarat, commander of the Phang Nga Naval base, dispatched HTMS Narathiwat with officials and necessities to help the sea gypsies.
The boat arrived at the island at 3am and the officials set up a kitchen to cook for the community at 6am.
The governor also declared the community a disaster zone for the sake of faster management and assistance.