A fire on Phi Phi island last night forced the evacuation of hotels and businesses as tourists and local residents headed to the beach areas to keep safe. At the time of writing, three people have been treated for minor injuries related to smoke inhalation.
In an initial report from the scene last night, local broadcaster Thai PBS said that the fire started in a small hotel before spreading to adjacent shophouses and restaurants. Investigations into the cause of the blaze continue with some officials suggesting a cooking gas cylinder ignited.
An update from news sources on Phi Phi islands this morning say the fire broke out around 9.30pm close to the October Hostel in the main Phi Phi Don village in a street known locally as Soi Slinky. Although Phi Phi is a small island, the area between the twin bays of Loh Dalum and Ton Sai has been heavily developed and is renowned for its backpacker party scene. Phi Phi authorities have been criticised in recent years for allowing too much development on the island. Safety standards in and around Phi Phi were already under the spotlight prior to last night’s incident. Last month, tourists on a speedboat travelling between Phuket and Phi Phi had to be rescued from a fire on board the boat as it travelled close to Viking Bay on the Phi Phi islands. The captain of the speedboat faces criminal charges.