Help pours in after mother loses two children in fire
PHITSANULOK: Help has started to pour in for a mother who lost her two children in a house fire in Muang district after they lit a candle to do their homework.
- Published: 24/05/2013 at 12:27 AM
- Newspaper section: topstories
Chutikan Polnok, 39, who lost her 13-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter in a fire that gutted her home in Phitsanulok on Tuesday night, thanks well-wishers for the help given to her family after the tragedy. (Photo and story by Chinnawat Singha)
The 13-year-old boy and his nine-year-old sister were found dead hugging each other on Tuesday.
Officials said the children lit the candle because the electricity had been shut off over an unpaid bill of 441 baht.
Their mother Chutikan Polnok, 39, was working at a restaurant when she was alerted to the fire. She suffered burns while trying to help her children.
Third Army Region deputy chief of staff, Col Padung Yingpaibulsuk, visited Ms Chutikan on Thursday and promised to build a new house for her.
Col Padung also gave her some money and some basic necessities.
Several other people visited Ms Chutikan Thursday to offer their condolences.
Ms Chutikan was preparing the funeral for her children at Wat Mahawanaram in Muang district.
Government officials and provincial charity organisations also donated money, rice, clothes and other basic items to Ms Chutikan.
The Phitsanulok Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) office, which was responsible for cutting the power to her house, also sent a wreath.
Ms Chutikan said she held no grudge against the PEA for what happened to her family, but she said the office should warn customers if they have failed to pay their bill that they intend to cut their power.
"I only owed them payment for one month," she said. "They didn't even alert me when they came to cut the power to my house on Monday. They could have rolled the debt over to the next bill."
The Phitsanulok PEA chief told reporters Thursday he was shocked and saddened by the incident, but insisted the office was only following procedures.
PEA office manager Niwut Thammathikornchai said the due date for Ms Chutikan to pay her bill was May 2.
The PEA usually allows customers 13 days to pay. If they fail to do so, an outsourced company is authorised to cut the power.
Mr Niwut said the office discussed the tragedy with the company that carries out the service cuts.
It is considering charging homeowners interest on delinquent bills for three months before cutting their power.
He said the interest charge would help prevent other similar tragedies.
At present, the Phitsanulok PEA serves about 150,000 homes. About 10%, or 15,000 of them, have failed to pay their electricity bills on time, he said. Mr Niwut said the PEA must propose the change to its board before it can be introduced.
About the author
- Writer: Chinnawat Singha
- Position: Writer