King's Portrait Survives House Fire, Officials Say

A fire that destroyed a house in Tak province and caused more than 2 million baht in damages miraculously spared a portrait of His Majesty the King, firefighters and police officers say. 23 Feb 2015.

TAK — A fire that destroyed a house in Tak province and caused more than 2 million baht in damages miraculously spared a portrait of His Majesty the King, firefighters and police officers say.

The teak wood house in Pob Phra district caught on fire at around 4 am this morning. Five trucks of firefighters arrived at the scene and took approximately 30 minutes to contain the blaze. 

Pol.Col. Pansak Samantarat, superintendent of Pob Phra Police Station, said most of the furniture was lost in the fire, which he estimated cost 2 million baht in damages. 

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However, the fire inexplicably spared a portion of a portrait of King Bhumibol (above) that was hung on a wall, according to firefighters who inspected the scene after the fire was put out. The firefighters told reporters they were "stunned" at the discovery. 

King Bhumibol, 87, has been on the throne since 1946 and is currently the world’s longest-reigning monarch. He is widely revered by Thais as a demi-god who can grant spiritual blessings to his subjects. 

His prestige is reinforced by Thailand’s lese majeste law, which criminalizes criticizing the Royal Family with a penalty of 15 years in prison. 

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Pol.Col. Pansak said police are investigating the cause of the fire, but added that the residents said they heard an "explosion" from the breaker panel inside the house shortly before the fire started. None of the residents were injured by the fire because they escaped the house in time, the officer said. 

 

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