This is truly heartbreaking.
A dorm fire at a primary school in northern Thailand killed 18 girls overnight on Sunday, most of whom had been woken up by a classmate’s warning only to go back to bed, thinking the fire call was a prank.
The 18 victims — between five and 12 years old — attended Pithakkaiat Witthaya School in the Wiang Pa Pao district of Thailand, just outside the city of Chiang Rai, and stayed in the dorm attached to the school.
Apparently the two-story wooden dorm caught fire at some point overnight (authorities don’t yet know the cause) and more than half of the girls housed inside perished in the blaze.
Rewat Wassana, the manager of the school, was understandably distraught when she spoke to reporters and revealed that teachers and staff desperately tried to help the girls escape:
“We have a teacher who sleeps with the girls in the dorm. She tried to help the students escape.”
While so many young women lost their lives, fifteen girls did escape without injuries, including one five-year-old who shared her story:
“We remembered some lessons from Girl Scouts to tie cloth together to make a long rope and we climbed out of the window. The teacher helped us. While the teacher was climbing down, the rope tore and she hurt her leg and waist.”
Ugh. Props to the Girl Scouts though.
Firefighters finally extinguished the blazing inferno after three hours, but obviously, it was far too late by then.
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of all those lost far too soon in this terrifying, gut-wrenching tragedy.
[Image via Voice TV Thailand/Twitter.]