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Fireworks fear

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Residents living next to Suphan Buri’s city pillar shrine were not surprised at Tuesday’s fireworks accident which killed four people and injured 75. They said they live in fear every year during festival time.

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Heavily-damaged houses are visible behind the city pillar shrine in Suphan Buri province following a fireworks explosion at a Chinese New Year celebration on Tuesday night. TAWATCHAI KEMGUMNERD

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Locals live in fear of annual fireworks terror

Nauvarat Suksamran

The annual Chinese New Year celebrations in downtown Suphan Buri, including spectacular fireworks displays, have given residents reasons to be nervous.

Samran Sudto, a retired teacher, said the fireworks, which caused the tragedy on Tuesday night, were more terrifying than beautiful.

Most people living around the town hall, where the fireworks go off, move out every year because they know what to expect.

Some houses in the community were reduced to ashes after stray fireworks set them ablaze.

Her own home, which was badly damaged in the fire, is 50m from where the fire started.

Ms Samran said many residents were out watching the festival when the fire broke out.

The roof of the pavilion at Phra Si Rattana Mahathat temple lost most of its tiles following the dramatic fireworks explosion. TAWATCHAI KEMGUMNERD

"This was the third year they have held the event since they built the dragon," she said, referring to the giant dragon replica built outside the city pillar shrine in Muang district.

"The fireworks are terrifying. This year was the worst as it was a major event," she said.

Ms Samran said residents could not stay home. The constant, loud noises from the fireworks can carry on all night long.

"It was so loud it scared the living daylights out of us," Ms Samran said.

Her family has checked in to a local resort while repairs are made to their fire-damaged home.

She said few residents agreed with the giant dragon being built in front of the shrine, as it was inauspicious.

"We didn't oppose it in the beginning, thinking it might bring prosperity to the province, but we were wrong," Ms Samran said.

The dragon sits outside the shrine at which people have paid homage for generations.

The dragon was built four years ago, at the entrance to the Dragon Descendants Museum, which houses exhibits that tell the history of China and ethnic-Chinese Thais.

The museum was opened to commemorate 20 years of Thailand's diplomatic ties with China in 1996.

"If it hadn't been for the spiritual protection afforded by the lord of the pillar, many more would have perished," the retired teacher said.

A scientific crime investigator gathers evidence from firework barrels near the shrine. TAWATCHAI KEMGUMNERD

Worawut Silpa-archa, son of Banharn Silpa-archa who is advisory chairman to the Chartthaipattana Party, said organisers pledged full financial assistance to families of the dead and injured. He added that Mr Banharn, who co-organised the event, said next year's celebration will not include fireworks.

He conveyed his father's apology to the people of Suphan Buri over the tragedy.

Kanchana Silpa-archa, Mr Banharn's daughter, and her mother, Khunying Jaemsai, were planning to visit the injured at hospitals yesterday.

Ms Kanchana said she believed the giant dragon had shielded some spectators at the event from injury.

visible – able to be seen ที่มองเห็นได้
pillar – a strong column made of stone, metal or wood which supports part of a building เสาหลัก
shrine – a place for worship which is holy because of a connection with a holy person or object; a special place in which you remember and praise someone who has died, especially someone famous สถานที่บูชา
fireworks – an object that explodes when you light it and produces coloured lights and loud noise – ดอกไม้ไฟ, ดอกไม้เพลิง, พลุ
celebration – a party or special event at which you celebrate something such as a birthday, a festival or a religious holiday การฉลอง
locals – people who live in a particular place ชาวบ้าน
annual – happening once a year ประจำปี
terror – a feeling of extreme fear ความหวาดกลัว
spectacular – very exciting to look at; extremely impressive น่าตื่นเต้น ที่ตระการตา
display – a performance that is intended to entertain people การแสดง
nervous – anxious about something or afraid of something กระวนกระวาย
retired – no longer working because you have reached the age where you are officially too old to work เกษียณอายุ
tragedy – a very sad situation, usually because it involves death or great suffering โศกนาฎกรรม
terrifying – extremely frightening; causing great fear น่าสะพรึงกลัว
community – the people living in one particular area ชุมชน
ashes – the grey powder that remains after something has burned   เถ้าถ่าน, ขี้เถ้
stray – away from the correct place or path พลัดหลง, หลงทาง
ablaze – on fire   ถูกไฟไหม้
residents – people who live in a particular area ประชาชนที่อาศัยในท้องที่
pavilion – a building with open sides at a temple used for sermons or a resting place for the public ศาลา
tile – a piece of baked clay that is used in rows for covering roofs แผ่นกระเบื้อง
dramatic – sudden, very great and often surprising ตื่นเต้นเร้าใจ
replica – an accurate copy of something งานศิลปะที่จำลองจากของจริง, ของจำลอง
constant – continuous; all the time ต่อเนื่อง
scared the living daylights out of us – frightened us completely
repairs – the process of fixing something that is broken or damaged การซ่อมบำรุง
inauspicious – showing signs that the future will not be good or successful อัปมงคล, ซึ่งไม่เป็นมงคล, ซึ่งเป็นลางร้าย
oppose – to disagree with or not approve of a plan or policy คัดค้าน
prosperity – the situation of being successful and having a lot of money ความมั่งคั่ง ความเจริญรุ่งเรือง
pay homage to – to show deep respect for someone แสดงความเคารพ
generation – a group of people in society who are born and live around the same time รุ่น (คนรุ่นต่างๆ)
entrance –  a door, gate, passage, etc. used for entering a room, building or place
descendants – their children, their children's children, and all the people who live after someone and are related to them
museum – a building where objects of historical, scientific or artistic interest are kept พิพิธภัณฑ์
house – to be the place where something is kept, or where an activity is carried out  บรรจุ
exhibit – an object or a work of art put in a public place, for example a museum, so that people can see it ของที่แสดง
ethnic– of a group of people with the same culture or traditions กลุ่มชาติพันธุ์
commemorate – to remember someone or something officially การระลึกถึง
diplomatic – relating to relations between countries เกี่ยวกับการทูต
ties – relations; connections ความสัมพันธ์
spiritual – religious, or related to religious issues เกี่ยวกับศาสนา
perish – to die, usually in a sudden way  ตาย, ตายอนาถ
investigator – someone whose job is to officially find out the facts about something – ผู้สอบสวน,  ผู้สำรวจ, ผู้ตรวจสอบ
evidence – facts, signs or objects that make you believe that something is true หลักฐาน,ข้อแสดง
pledge – to make a serious promise to do something สัญญา
financial assistance – help with money  ความช่วยเหลือทางการเงิน
injured – hurt in an accident or attack ซึ่งได้รับบาดเจ็บ
apology – an act of saying sorry คำขอโทษ
shield – to protect something ซ่อนจาก, ป้องกัน
spectator – a person who watches an activity, especially a sports event, without taking part ผู้เข้าชม


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