At midnight new years eve the beach at Mae Phim village in Rayong east Thailand was turned into a inferno of fire. The culprit was a rocket which ignited a thatched roof of Joe Joe restaurant and minutes after the whole lane of restaurants was on fire.
“We stood and waited for the stroke of midnight on the beach when a rocket was triggered too early. We first heard an explosion, then we a rocket flying in the wrong direction and set fire to the roof of one of the beach restaurants, Rober Hallgren from Vësterås told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet.
The fire spread in minutes and chaos erupted at the beach crowded with tourist many of them Swedish.
“People screamed and ran in all directions. It was really uncomfortable”, said Robert Hallgren.
Carl Mellerot, who has lived in Mae Phim for eight years and runs a restaurant on the beach, tells that 30 restaurants are situated like pearls on a string at the beach.
“No one has been injured. The restaurants all have thatched roofs, but open sides, making it fast and easy to get out and away,” he tells
Carl Mellerot describes Mae Phim as a small Swedish village where 80 percent of western tourists are Swedish.”
According to The Government Public Relations Department (PRD) more than 10 shops and restaurants and an ATM burned down to the ground. More than 15 fire-department vehicles participated in fighting the fire, which was difficult and dangerous because all restaurants had gas cylinders for cooking in their kitchens.
PRD estimates the damages to 10 million baht.