At least 17 girls have died after a fire at a private school residence in northern Thailand, according to a police commander.
The fire broke out at about 11pm on Sunday local time (4pm GMT) and the girls died as they slept in the private Pitakiatwittaya School Christian primary school in Thailand’s northern Chiang Rai Province.
Five of their classmates were injured – two of them seriously – and two are still missing, Police Colonel Prayad Singsin, Commander of Vingpatao district in Chiang Rai, said.
The province’s deputy governor Arkom Sukapan told AFP: “There were 38 students inside the dormitory when the fire broke out.
“Some were not yet asleep so they escaped.
“But others were asleep and could not escape resulting in the large number of casualties.”
The school, which has not yet been named, belongs to a local foundation and is home to girls aged between three and 13.
It is understood that many of the pupils are from impoverished hill tribes in the mountainous region.