2013 was launched with a bang for a Danish family who was celebrating New Year in Krabi, Southern Thailand, when a gas cylinder in the hotel’s kitchen exploded at 7am and evolved to five meters high flames.
Hotel stairs of Ao Nang Buri, a Thai hotel, were covered with flames and the only escape route was the fire stairs, says Kent Hedemann Kristensen, who stayed at the hotel with his wife and two children.
Kent Hedemann Kristensen (left) and his 20-year-old son Kasper along with family had a New Year’s morning escape from their hotel in Krabi, Thailand because of a gas explosion. Photo: BT
“We stayed on the third floor and woke up because of the blast. My wife Annette went out on the balcony to see what was happening and cried when she saw the burning. Our kids Kasper and Jane, who stayed next-door, was not awake and strangely there was no fire alarm. We got them up, got some clothes in a hurry and fled down the fire escape,” said Kent Hedemann Kristensen.
However, at the end of the escape route, the Danish family inspected another terror – the stairs were not finished, and there were still three meters away to the ground. Gradually, more and more guests gathered at the end of the fire escape and panic began to spread.
“My son Kasper chose to skip the 3 feet down and run for help from the hotel nearby because there was no staff coming to provide assistance,” said Kent Hedemann Kristensen.
The son Kasper got a ladder from the hotel so that 50 waiting guests could climb down to safety. At that time there was still no signs of hotel staff coming for the rescue.
Later, the fire was fortunately put out.
The Danish family who came with Star Tour, a Danish travel agency, for a vacation in Krabi, called the mishaps – the explosion and Star Tour’s lack of hotel’s security check – a ‘scandal.’
“It is nonsense to accommodate people at a hotel I would describe as a fire trap. I do not understand why Star Tour has not been fully examined the conditions of the hotel they select for clients. Within a few minutes you can see that all is not as it should be,” said Kent Hedemann Kristensen.
A sales at Star Tour, Stig Elling, admits that there have been some lack of security at the hotel, but the problems will now be taken care of.
“Things like fire alarms and emergency exits must be in order, so we tighten up control of security in this hotel,” said Stig Elling.
He, however, is not confirmed that Star Tour will stop sending guests to the hotel. There were a total of six Danes at the hotel.