The owner of the 32-room dormitory, built on a hill in Soi Prayoon 2, off Yaowarat Rd, ordered all people to evacuate the building before it collapsed at about 11:30pm, officials reported.
One tenant said he heard a loud boom Wednesday night (Oct 19), followed by another loud noise around 3am yesterday.
“It sounded like cement cracking, but I couldn’t be sure and I didn’t pay it any mind,” he added.
When he woke yesterday morning he noticed cracks in the ceiling in his room. “Other people noticed cracks in the cement, and started thinking it was unsafe,” the tenant said.
Tenants started clearing their belongings from their rooms at about 8am yesterday. By midday no people were left staying in the building, he said.
Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew along with Vice Governors Amnuay Pinsuwan and Anupap Rodkwan Yodrabam were at the scene of the collapse last night.
The area was ordered sealed off and the power supply to the building was shut off for safety.
Thammarit Rithipakdi, Civil Engineer Specialist at the Phuket Office of Public Works and Town Planning, said the collapse was due to heavy continuous rain for days waterlogging the soil beneath the building and the soil on the slope behind it.
“The initial cause is believed to be the soil from the hill behind the building moving down [the slope], causing the building to move,” he said.
A main support beam in the building had broken under the strain, causing the front of the building to give way, he added.
“Further inspections are needed, but the building appears to be unable to maintain stability. It might be able to be repaired, or it may have to be demolished completely,” he said.
Mr Thammarit urged all owners and occupants of buildings on or near slopes to check their buildings for signs of strain.
“People need to beware if their buildings are no longer safe,” he said.