6 June 2024

Three boys, including twins, died in a fire at Suankaew Temple in Nonthaburi province late Wednesday night. In an attempt to help the children, firefighters had to break into a dwelling that had been locked from the inside.

The boys’ bodies were found lying together, holding hands. The twins were identified as “Pannawich” and “Pannawat”, 11, and the other boy as “Theerapong”, 9.

Phra Phayom Kalayano, the outspoken abbot of the temple, held a press briefing this afternoon, saying that it was a tragedy and the first of its kind at the temple, which has provided shelter and education for children for almost 30 years.

He said the boys may have taken the opportunity, when the unoccupied dwelling was empty and no adults were around, to go inside to play on their tablet devices, or to charge them.

An initial investigation found that the dwelling, a so-called “kuti”, was an abandoned structure, situated near the temple’s entrance.

A temple official said he did not know that the three boys were inside, as normally no one lived there.

He mentioned that the three were among the children under the care of the temple, which provides them with shelter and an education.

A witness reported that, before the fire, five children were seen at the dwelling. Two of them, who also lived in the temple, had left the place.

Meanwhile, Chamlong, the grieving grandmother of the twins, said that she raised the boys because their parents had divorced.

The twins had studied at a school in Pathum Thani province and when the school closed, they entered the monkhood as novices at the temple.

Weeping, the grandmother said that their mother has been informed of the tragedy and is travelling to the temple.