18 girls killed in Thai dormitory fire


Eighteen young girls have been killed in northern Thailand after their school's dormitory went up in flames.

Vingpatao district commander Prayad Singsin said the fire broke out at 11pm local time, likely while the girls were sleeping.

Thirty-eight girls, ranging from five to 12-years-old, were caught in the fire, with 20 rescued by firefighters who climbed the building using ladders.

Local fire chief Sawang Momdee said his team did their best.

"We were trying to save everyone through the window, but the fire spread very quickly," he explained.

The private school's manager, Rewat Wassana, said parents would not have access to their children's bodies until they were all identified.

The school is made up largely of poor children from nearby villages, who were educated and accommodated for free thanks to funding from a Christian charity.