Patong’s tragedy

My time in Thailand was amazing but we were lightly touched by tragedy during our time abroad which has given me a mighty big lesson in gratitude.

Thursday the  16th of August was the day our group set aside for our big night out in Patong. We were a large group – large enough to warrant a mini bus for the 45min journey to the bustling night club district.

Several of us had posted on facebook that Thursday night would be a night to remember.

Our group consisted of myself, my two younger brothers, my two younger male cousins (also brothers), the newly wed couple (my sister and her husband) and one of my sisters friends – total was 7. We arrived in Patong around 7pm, grabbed some dinner then headed down the main street which is home to a massive number of booming night clubs.

I cannot do this street justice with words – anyone who has been there at night will understand why. It is a surreal scene  chock full of tourists, locals, working girls, exotic animals, blasting music, disco lights, smells and heat.

We wandered a short distance before moving into one of the bigger bars where our night begun with large bucket sized cocktails, red bull, and performances by Go-Go dancers on the bar top.

Our night ended around 1am which was the time we had asked our mini-bus driver to return to collect our group. We were all smiles and laughing after some wild dancing and drinking –  we were oblivious to the drama playing out in Patong.

We met for breakfast the next morning to regroup after our evenning. The newly wed couple recieved a messsage from a friend explaining there had been a fire in Patong the night before and were we all okay. Further information came through indicating the fire was at a place called the Tiger Bar – which we had spent time in. A little shocked that we had not known about this we all set off to find out more information.

The information I have gathered is that the bar caught on fire sometime after 2am. The fire was caused by either lightening hitting a large transformer box outside the night club, or, water dripping onto exposed wires in the nightlclubs ceiling.

Four people died in that fire. All 4 had run into the toilets to escape the blaze and became trapped.

Many others were injured. Broken legs from people jumping out windows. Burns from those also caught in the blaze.

The event was heart breaking and shocking.

We travelled back to Patong the next day to see the bar that only 12 hours prior had been full of life. The entrance was now tapped off with police going back and forth. Tourists took photos. I silently thanked the universe that we had decided to move on before the fire broke out.

The event spooked me. It so easily could have been myself and my family caught in the blaze. So easy it really rattled me. Our whole group were fairly quiet about the event. Almost realising how fortunate we were to not be there at the same moment.

I felt so close to the drama and yet untouched.

If we had been in that particular nightclub, I know for fact the first thing we would have done is made sure we were all together. Being a group of 7 this may or may not have been wise. Witnesses said that the fire ignited rapidly causing a large fire ball type blaze to engulf the top floor of the bar within seconds.

I notified people via facebook that our group were safe. Family members indicated they had heard the news in Australia and were extremely happy to hear we were not involved.

I thought of the family members of those who were involved.

Perhaps they were like us. A group of tourists just out for one night of fun that turned sour.

I thanked the universe for encouraging our group to move on from that bar to another night club in the street.

Gratitude… filled to the brim with it at the moment and my heart goes out the friends and family of the 4 souls lost in the fire.