The blaze swept through a dormitory at Pitakiatwittaya School in the Wiang Pa Pao district of Chiang Rai in northern Thailand.

The fire broke out in a dormitory where girls aged between five and 12 were sleeping at the Christian school for girls from poor hill tribe families.

istrict police chief Colonel Prayad Singsin said: “”Most of the losses were because the children were asleep.”

Five girls are reported injured, with two being in a critical condition.

Forensic experts sifted through the debris and ashes inside the concrete shell of the school dormitory building on Monday.

Preliminary indications suggested a faulty fluorescent light on the ground floor may have been the cause.

A hot fragment fell onto a pile of clothes and started the fire, he said. The children likely died due to smoke inhalation.

Sant Sukhavachana, a senior regional forensics officer said: “There was a lot of smoke and the room where it happened was right below where the children were sleeping.”

The alarm was raised by a school cleaner..

A total of 36 children of the 142 that attend the school were in the dormitory when the fire started.

Pim Wasana, the head of the school said: “I am at a loss for words.

“I don’t know what I should do, but the only thing on my mind now is to try to find a way to ease the parents’ suffering.”

Namae Patikiri, a 57-year-old member of the Hmong hill tribe, lost six grandchildren in the blaze.

She said: “Five of them had only moved here a year ago. “The other one had only been here for two weeks.”

Source: Girls killed in school fire | World | News | Daily Express