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Monday, June 17, 2024

Three Children Die in Wat Suan Kaew Fire

A tragic fire claimed the lives of three children, including 11-year-old twin boys and their 9-year-old friend, at Wat Suan Kaew temple in Bang Len subdistrict, Bang Yai district, Nonthaburi province late Wednesday night.

The children, who were under the temple’s care for shelter and education, were in a monk’s living quarters when the fire broke out shortly after midnight. The twins lived in the quarters, and their friends had come to play. Two of the friends left before 10 p.m. on May 22, narrowly avoiding the disaster that struck a few hours later. Rescue workers found the charred bodies of the three children huddled together near the exit door. Initial investigations by police suggest the fire might have been caused by an electrical short circuit, possibly triggered by rain.

At 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Ms. Kesorn, 42, the mother of the twin boys, arrived at Wat Suan Kaew upon hearing the devastating news. Overcome with grief, she collapsed in tears in front of the temple, expressing her sorrow publicly. She shared that she had planned to visit her children at the beginning of next month but was now faced with this heartbreaking loss.

Phra Payom Kalayano, the abbot of Wat Suan Kaew, remarked that the temple has been caring for children for nearly 30 years without such a serious incident. He explained that the fire occurred on Visakha Bucha Day, a significant Buddhist holiday with activities lasting late into the night. Consequently, the person responsible for supervising the children could not do so fully, allowing the children to sneak into the unoccupied monk’s quarters to play.

Investigations revealed that five children, including two pairs of twins, were playing together that night. After some time, two children went to bed first, leaving the twin boys and another child from the other pair in the quarters until the fire broke out. This decision inadvertently saved the lives of two children.

Phra Payom also addressed misinformation from some news outlets, which falsely reported that the room was locked from the outside. He clarified that video footage showed the temple caretaker attempting to extinguish the fire. “If the door had been locked from the outside, the entire quarters would have burned down, and no one could have entered to put out the fire,” Phra Payom stated.

Pol. Lt. Col. Piyawut Kaewmanee, acting superintendent of Bang Yai Police Station, said that authorities are awaiting autopsy results to determine whether the children died from smoke inhalation or electrocution before being burned.

In attendance at the scene were numerous officials and law enforcement personnel, underscoring the gravity of the incident and the importance of the ongoing investigation.

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