Police probe cause of blaze
POLICE say lit and unattended incense or a short circuit by a fan were possible causes of a fire on Friday, which broke out in a residential building in Bangkok's Yannawa district, an informed source reported yesterday.
Angkana Aisiri, the wife of landlord and former Ranong senator Vikrom Aisiri, died in the blaze.
Bang Phong Phang Police superintendent Pol Colonel Namkiat Theerajanapong led forensic officers and representatives of the Association of Siamese Architects to inspect the nine-storey building in Soi Narathiwat 18 yesterday, particularly the third-floor living room, which was suspected to be where the fire originated.
Police will summon witnesses and building residents for more information after the Chinese New Year, the source reported.
Pol Lt Colonel Bandit Pradapsuk, vice chairman of the architects body, said the initial inspection found the building, constructed in 1992, was up to the code of structure design and equipped with a smoke detection system. He said they also found that the building was adorned with parquet floors, walls and ceilings and hardwood decorations, which may have helped the fire spread fast.
Meanwhile, the owner of a nearby apartment, Chawalit Kijsupanont, 75, urged the media to correct details, given initially by city officials that his seven-storey building in the same neighbourhood was the scene of the blaze. He claimed misidentification would aversely affect his business. Chawalit said he asked Yannawa District Office to tell the public about this mistaken statement and urged them to be responsible for damages.
Yannawa district director affirmed that another statement was issued to correct the misidentification of the building. The director said a district-level committee and a public works authority would inspect the site of the blaze, and if it was unsafe, the landlord would be asked to reduce number of storeys.
Meanwhile, a grief-stricken Vikrom and family members went to identify Angkana’s body. They performed a bathing rite at the morgue at Chulalongkorn Hospital yesterday and were due to collect the body for religious ceremonies at Wat Hua Lamphong later.
In related news, Chatchai Sirirojpanyakul, 40, a rescue volunteer charged with stealing a watch worth about Bt200,000 from the building during the fire, was released on bail yesterday.