A press conference at the scene of the fire is currently being held by Phuket Governor Maitree Intusut.
The fire started last night and quickly developed into a huge inferno, sending smoke and flames high up in the sky and visible from across the island. There were reports of people fleeing the building but it is not known if any were trapped inside.
Officials have not received any confirmed reports about injured or dead. No victims had been treated so far at the Mission Hospital or Vachira Hospital Phuket.
The fire burned out of control for many hours, engulfing the nearby Thanksina wood factory and completely destroying the SuperCheap building. It was brought under control by firefighters in the early hours of this morning.
A Phuket Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation official told The Phuket News on Thursday morning, “I have not received any reports about any injured or dead people. The fire is under control now. We have 15 officials from the department standing by at the scene to help.”
Phuket Vice-Governor Jamroen Thipphayapongtada said, “Right now there are still flames, and we have to wait until they are completely stopped. Then we can investigate the whole area.”
He said there were no reports of any dead or injured people so far. “But we have to wait for the flames to stop.”
Pol Col Sian Keawthong, a Phuket special investigator with the Phuket Police, said the fire was under control now.
“The explosion sound is continuing because there is so much heat inside and a lot of the building is broken, and it is creating pressure. Firemen are still working on the fire.
“At the moment there are 60 policemen and 200 volunteers from various organisations, including the municipalities and Phuket Provincial Administrative Organization. Now we are trying to think about ways to get in and inspect the area.”
He said the fire might have started at the back of the SuperCheap building.
Paiboon Upatising, president of the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organization told The Phuket News, “When I first heard about the fire, I sent two emergency cars from the OrBorJor, two firetrucks and three small trucks from Chalong with spotlights attached to support the other officials. More than 10 officials from the OrBorJor are standing by at the scene now.
“We cannot summarise the number of injured or dead people yet. I must wait until I get confirmation from the Phuket Provincial authorities.”
“I will speak to Governor Maitree [Intusut] and the Vice Governors today to find out what the next step is.”
Police cordoned off the area last night and evacuated those living nearby due to the risk of a possible explosion following concerns about the close proximity of an Esso petrol station.
Once news broke of the blaze, Phuket Vice-Governors Jamroen Thipphayapongtada and Sommai Prijasilpa went to the scene along with mayors from many districts on the island. Gov Maitree was in Bangkok at the time, but has now returned.
The iconic warehouse-like shop, situated on 30 rai of land, is well-known in Phuket for being the store where you can buy almost anything.