Brit, 26, arrested in Thailand after 'setting fire to his hotel room during drunken rampage as terrified staff hid' | The Sun

A BRITISH backpacker has been arrested today after allegedly starting a hotel fire during a drunken rampage.

The tourist, from Surrey, 26, was staying at a hotel in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand when he reportedly set fire to his room before running away on the night of April 19.

Just before midnight, the Guildford local allegedly shouted at the front desk staff at the Y Smart Hotel before trying to drag them outside in a drunken rage.

The staff member was so scared that he claims he ran and hid.

He was then seen leaving the hotel before smoke began billowing out of his room.

Soon, the blaze ripped though the four storey building and fire crews battled the flames into the early hours of the morning.

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Police arrested the man today after tracing him on CCTV cameras from around the hotel.

Police Lieutenant Nattapon Kuenkam said: "The suspect has been arrested and investigations are continuing. He has been detained at the police station while we interview him and collect more evidence.

"We are going to determine whether he started the fire deliberately or not."

Receptionist Sahatsawat, 23, told police that the foreigner had arrived on Wednesday evening to book a hotel while he waited for a bus.

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"He provided his documents and paid for his hotel room normally without any argument," he explained.

However, his behaviour quickly changed and before long he reportedly tried to drag the receptionist into the street.

"At around 11pm, he went on a rampage acting like he was drunk and invited me outside for an unexplained reason.

"He pulled my arm and I told him 'no, stop'."

Sahatsawat claims he became angry and kicked the counter before rampaging around the lobby then going to his room.

"The tourist became angry and was shouting at me. I don't know why, because I couldn't understand everything he was saying."

The hotel employee became so scared that he claims he fled to his room to escape the man's wrath. He then saw the Brit pack his belongings and flee the hotel.

However, while heading upstairs to check the rooms get some towels for the other guests, Sahatsawat noticed smoke seeping out of the second floor room the Brit had been staying in.

He opened the door to discover the room pitch-black and filled with smoke.

"I saw there was smoke and panicked," he said.

The fire quickly spread across the building's second floor, which trapped six people – both Thai and foreigners – on the floor above.

They had to escape to their balconies to avoid the suffocating smoke while firefighters fought against the roaring blaze.

It took 20 minutes for them to extinguish the flames and thankfully all six guests were rescued unharmed.

Chiang Mai Deputy Mayor Sunthorn Yamsiri said: "We were informed by residents that there was a fire at the hotel, so firefighters were brought to the scene.

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"There was a lot of smoke, and people trapped in the building who had fled to the balconies. It's fortunate there were no casualties."

Major General Thawatchai Pongwiwatchai added: "This is a serious case. The fire endangered the lives of many people."

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