Phuket Town, Thailand (UPDATE) — The fire continues to rage in the Supercheap store in Phuket over 13 hours after it broke out, and the number of people who may have died inside is still unknown, reports Phuket News.
It is feared the number of deaths may reach into the hundreds, but authorities are still reluctant to give any estimates. It is believed there were about 1,000 staff and hundreds of customers in the megastore when the fire broke out.
Firefighters and police have been unable to get inside the building due to the enormity of the inferno that has completely destroyed the huge store, but Phuket City Police chief Sermphan Sirikong said forensic police officers will soon be able to enter and search the building.
“I cannot comment on how many people died in the fire until officers inspect the building,” he said.
Fresh reinforcements of firefighters have arrived to relieve those who fought the blaze throughout the night.
One woman, whose 18-year-old daughter worked in the store, said she fears the worst.
“I have been waiting all night to hear any news of her. I got here at about 9:30pm, as soon as I found out about the fire,” she told the Phuket Gazette.
“I have very little hope that she is still alive. I am preparing myself for the worst,” she tearfully said.
View a video of the fire.