I was interested, and alarmed, to read the letter titled
“Getting out of Kad Suan Kaew,” in the August 20 issue. About two years
ago I was watching a film at one of the Vista theaters there one evening,
when there was an extended power failure. The theater had no electric exit
signs or backup lights. After about twenty minutes of sitting in the pitch
dark, the patrons tried to exit, using the dim lights of their mobile phones
for illumination. We soon discovered that many of the emergency exit doors
were padlocked. Finally we made it out into the hallways, where the only
illumination came from some candles in various shops, and the one set of
emergency lights from Boots Pharmacy. Of course the escalators were not
working, so everyone stumbled down them in the dark.
Remembering the tragic deaths in 1997 at a Jomtien Hotel
where almost 100 people perished due to locked emergency exits, I knew
better than to head for an emergency exit, and left by the front doors.
Since this frightening trip to the cinema, I always carry a small flashlight
when visiting Kad Suan Kaew. If possible I go to Central Airport Plaza
This year I know that most of the Kad Suan Kaew fire
exits leading into the central courtyard staircases are now locked. Heaven
knows about the more concealed exits. In addition to carrying a flashlight
to the shopping mall, it might be advisable to carry an axe.