How The Fire Almost Swallowed The Entire Phi Phi Island
Tropical paradise that almost became hell
As I was making my way to my room I noticed a commotion. As this is the Phi Phi island, home to crazy parties and people who party hard, my first thought was that it had to be a brawl. As people ran I noticed there was a fire starting from a restaurant. At that moment, there was nothing to put out the fire with and when people finally came with fire extinguishers, it was already too late – the fire was spreading fast.
At that moment it looked like it’s gonna spread through the whole island
A few attempts were made with the fire extinguisher but that didn’t make any difference. Small hoses with water were brought to the scene and that also haven’t made an impact, the fire was growing wild.
At that moment it looked like it’s gonna spread through the whole island. People were confused, some were yelling not to use water while some people yelled not to use fire extinguishers and at one moment two foreigners almost started fighting. Few savvy Thai people disconnected gas tanks from their restaurants in case the fire spread to other places.
As the fire roared through, it came to the electric wires, sparks started flying while it destroyed the wires one by one. All of a sudden, it was dark as there was no more electricity. The only light came from the fire, contrasted with the dark sky. Fire spread to four buildings and flames were licking the roof of the the hotel where I stayed until it also caught fire.
At this moment people started organizing as the few brave people took the lead
At this moment people started organizing as the few brave people took the lead. They have started taking down easily flammable things from the next bar and setting the perimeter around the hotel, so it would not spread. Top floor of the hotel was in flames, so it was a challenge getting the water there.
At that moment you could finally see that fire hoses are being set up, some water was being sprayed from a place across as some fearless men climbed on top of the hotel and started putting the fire down with whatever they had. Buckets of water were passed to them, bags of ice packs were thrown into the fire and finally some hoses were also brought.
When there was no more fire in the rooms they started extinguishing the roof. The roof was almost inaccessible . They had to make a hole and then climb through it. When the fire was extinguished on the hotel it was met with cheers and the claps of bystanders and people fighting the fire.
People organized, people delivered
In the street there was yelling, motorbikes with side-carts were coming from all around the island with buckets full of water, people filled the buckets wherever they could find water, some people were helping pass the buckets, later all the water sources were full of people waiting their turn to fill the buckets up.
Although the hotel fire has been extinguished, there was another fire on the other side which needed some attention. Already organized and the bucket filling stations already set, they moved to another place and set up a chain of people passing buckets. Buckets were filled from the leftover water on the street, hoses, and the water that was dripping of the roofs.
Occasionally, you could see some tourists passing by with a beer in their hand and music from their speakers unaware what just happened here and how big was the fire. If it weren’t for these firefighting bold men, who knows what would have happened.
All of the fires were out now and the people were going around making sure all of the embers have also been put out.
Aftermath of the fire looked like a battle ground. On the street there was rubbish, water, mud… In the street where there still was electricity, guys who fought the fire were washing, cooling down and having their wounds treated.
Things To Learn
When everything is said and done, there are a few things to learn from this. Acting as an individual in the situations like this usually leads to a fail. Working as a group, a squad, a troupe is what is important and leads to a success.
People are walking next to the burnt buildings, taking photos but I don’t think they know what catastrophe has been avoided just because of the actions of the courageous men, Thai, tourists and foreigners working there. Many languages could be heard but in the end everyone had their vital role in stopping the fire.