Monday, February 12, 2007

Phi Phi Island Fire - How Many Tourist-Firefighters?

My story about fighting the Phi Phi Island fire is now posted -- lots of photos! Click Here or just scroll down.

I have just updated my blog coverage of the massive fire Sunday on Phi-Phi Island. Most notably the fire was successfully fought by a volunteer "international fire brigade" consisting of hundreds and hundreds of tourists from around the world who joined forces with local Thais to put out a blazing inferno that consumed 11 shops. The fire began shortly before noon yesterday.

How Many Firefighters? An article in the Bangkok Post states that there were 200 tourist fire-fighters. I believe his estimate to be far too low. On the other hand, I feel that my original estimate that there were over 1,000 fire fighters may have been too high. After reviewing my notes and photos I would conservatively say at least 350 foreigners were actively involved in putting out the fire at any one time during a three hour period (as some dropped out from exhaustion, others took their place). A similar number of locals were actively involved, both in the bucket brigade and "behind the scenes," collecting and delivering buckets, drinks, and other supplies to the firefighters. My best conservative estimate is that at least 700 tourists and locals participated in a massive effort to put out one very big fire.

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