Unattended home cooking causes predawn fire in refugee camp

The predawn fire at Ban Mai Nai Soi refugee holding centre in Muang district of Mae Hong Son province was believed to be caused by home cooking.

The fire, which broke out on Wednesday night (July 5), destroyed 33 makeshift houses but authorities have to demolish 36 other makeshift bamboo houses connected with the gutted houses for reconstruction. More than 300 Myanmar refugees left homeless.

There were no casualties in the fire.

Forensic police examining the cause of the fire found evidence of unattended home cooking started the fire.

Mae Hong Son governor Suebsak Iamvicharn said after leading a team of relief officials to inspect the scene and provide primary aids to the refugees Thursday (July 6) that unattended home cooking was the cause of the fire.

He held a meeting with relevant government agencies and agreed to rebuild accommodations for refugees.

As the fire was not completely extinguished with smoke still billowing from the scene, he said volunteers, soldiers and locals needed to keep close watch to prevent the gutted homes from catching fire again.

Ban Mai Nai Soi holding centre holds more than 8,000 Myanmar refugees. The centre comprises eight camps housing refugees fleeing fighting between Myanmar troops and ethnic minority rebels.

The centre was earlier hit by four fires in the past years.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)