BANGKOK – August 22, 2012 [PDN]; Authorities are awaiting DNA test results to confirm the identity of a third victim who died in an August 17 fire at a Phuket discotheque.
At the Office of the National Police Bureau, Pol. Lt. Gen. Jarumporn Suramanee, Assistant Commissioner, confirmed the identities of two Thai victims. A fourth victim is also being identified through forensic investigation.
The two Thai women were identified as Ms. Niphapak or Sumalee Soodtasorn, and Ms. Duangporn Bootkro.
The four charred bodies were “burnt beyond recognition” and require DNA testing to determine their identities. A total of 11 people were also injured in the fire at the Tiger Discotheque.
The other two bodies are believed to be males. One victim awaiting confirmation by DNA testing is believed to be Mr. Emmanoel Becard, a Frenchman.
To help identify Mr. Emmanoel, his nail-cutting scissors and toothbrush were retrieved from his room by the forensic Evidence Verification unit, to compare with DNA samples from his burnt body. But it is difficult to find DNA from such toiletry items, an EVU officer said.
The police are coordinating with the France embassy to compare Mr. Emmanoel’s dental records with his dentist, along with the DNA of his parents.
As for the cause of the deadly fire in the 2-story building, Pol. Lt. Gen. Jarumporn said a preliminary inspection indicated it may have started from an electric cable.
The fire appears to have started in the ceiling of a second-floor room reserved for dancing, he said. There may have been more oxygen in that area to feed the flames and cause the fire to spread rapidly, he speculated.
Other media accounts report that witnesses saw sparks coming from a lighted sign outside the building before the fire started.
The police spokesman was asked if the deadly Phuket fire had any similarities to the 2009 fire at the Santika nightclub in Bangkok. That fire on New Year’s Eve killed 66 people and injured 222 others.
Pol. Lt. Gen. Jarumporn Suramanee replied that the Phuket building had similar flammable Styrofoam material that covered 20 percent of its interior. After the Santika fire, new regulations were passed to limit the use of Styrofoam to 10 percent of a building’s interior.
The Phuket building had six fire exits to comply with regulations, the police spokesman said. But the exits appeared inadequate for the size of the building. Also, not all the exits were accessible from the ground floor.
The design of the building’s interior also does not match the application form submitted to the municipal office to operate the nightclub, he said.