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Fire breaks out in Chiang Mai as lantern ban ignored

Fire breaks out in Chiang Mai as lantern ban ignored

Several locals and tourists in Chiang Mai province ignored the government’s warning and launched lanterns into the sky on Monday night to celebrate the Loy Krathong Festival across the northern tourist city.

Loy Krathong is celebrated on the full moon night of the 12th lunar month, November 27 this year, when Thais launch decorated floats or “krathong” onto waterbodies to pay respect to Phra Mae Khongkh, the Goddess of Water.

The festival is also celebrated with fireworks and, in certain parts of Thailand, through the launching of lanterns into the sky.

Fire breaks out in Chiang Mai as lantern ban ignored

The government however warned on Monday that launching any sky lanterns, bang fai (locally-made rockets), fireworks, and firecrackers into the air during the Loy Krathong festival is against the law as they could pose a potential fire hazard.

Fire breaks out in Chiang Mai as lantern ban ignored

On Monday night, as the Loy Krathong celebration kicked off in Chiang Mai, several lanterns were seen being released from the square of Tha Phae Gate and Nawarat Bridge in Muang district, where the Loy Krathong activities were held.

Fire breaks out in Chiang Mai as lantern ban ignored

The Nation’s reporter in Chiang Mai found several merchants selling sky lanterns at these two locations on Monday night. The lanterns were priced at 50 baht apiece for Thai customers and 100 baht for foreigners.

Fire breaks out in Chiang Mai as lantern ban ignored

Incidentally, a fire was reported at around 3am of Tuesday at a commercial building in Waroros Market in Chang Moi subdistrict, not far from the Tha Phae Gate.

Fire breaks out in Chiang Mai as lantern ban ignored

20 firetrucks and over 50 firefighters rushed to the scene to put out the fire, which damaged three out of nine units of the 3-storey building. One of the damaged units is reportedly a construction material shop that stores flammable paint thinner.

Fire breaks out in Chiang Mai as lantern ban ignored

Fire breaks out in Chiang Mai as lantern ban ignored

Officials estimated the damage to be more than 10 million baht.

Investigators are checking if the fire was caused by sky lanterns launched from nearby Tha Phae Gate.

Fire breaks out in Chiang Mai as lantern ban ignored

According to the 2019 Air Navigation Act as well as the 2015 Certain Offences Against Air Navigation Act, launching anything into the air that might endanger aircraft is punishable by up to 800,000 baht in fines, lifetime imprisonment, and even the death penalty.

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