Four dead in Phuket fire

Four people were killed and another injured when fire tore through a large furniture shop in central Phuket province early yesterday.

The blaze started about 1.45am on the first floor of the three-storey, two-unit shophouse building on Sri Suthat Road which housed Chokechai Furniture shop.

The blaze then spread to the upper floors of the building where five people were sleeping. Five fire engines were deployed and firefighters took about two hours to extinguish the flames.

The shop, in Muang district’s Talad Yai sub-district, stored wooden and plastic furniture and home decorations.

The bodies of three members of the same family were found holding one another inside the building. They were identified as Mongkol Ruanchai, 45, his wife Nucharee, 42, and their son Theerawat, nine.

The other victim was Chatcha Kanpat, 32, whose body was found near a bedroom window. Janhom Jakkaew, the 51-year-old owner of the shop, was injured and is being treated in Vachira Phuket Hospital.

Ms Janhom, whose legs and arms were broken, said she was sleeping on the third floor when the smell of smoke woke her up. When she tried to wake the others, thick smoke blinded her, forcing her to jump from the building.

Police believed the fire resulted from an electrical short circuit. The value of the damage was estimated at about seven million baht.