A fire broke out at the Grand Diamond City Casino & Hotel in Poipet, bordering Thailand, around midnight on Wednesday and was brought under control on Thursday afternoon after more than 12 hours.
The death toll from a massive fire at a casino hotel in western Cambodia rose to 25 on Friday. The search operation is still going on in search of the victims. Officials gave this information. A fire broke out at the Grand Diamond City Casino & Hotel in Poipet, bordering Thailand, around midnight on Wednesday and was brought under control on Thursday afternoon after more than 12 hours. According to Sek Sokhom, head of the information department of Banteay Meanchey province, 25 bodies have been removed from the scene so far, including six bodies retrieved on Friday morning.
He said that some bodies were lying in the room and some were lying on the stairs. He said more than 60 people were injured and the death toll was expected to rise as rescuers tried to pull victims out from under the rubble and inside closed rooms. Soth Kimkolmony, a spokesman for Cambodia’s National Disaster Management Committee, said the Grand Diamond City casino complex has 500 employees and was visited by 1,000 people on Wednesday.
However, it is not clear how many people were present there when the fire broke out and how many managed to escape safely. It is still difficult to ascertain the exact number of casualties amid the high-profile operation as many of the wounded survivors crossed the border to seek treatment in neighboring Thailand, where medical facilities are better. Rescue teams from Thailand and Cambodia jointly searched the 17-storey building complex for victims but had to halt their operations for the night in the badly damaged building.
Most of the staff and tourists inside the building are from neighboring Thailand. Thailand has sent its fire engines and emergency personnel to help. Thailand’s Sa Kaeo Provincial Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office retrieved 11 bodies and 109 injured, all from Thailand. Of the injured, 57 are undergoing treatment in hospitals. Local officials said preliminary investigations revealed that the fire was probably caused by excessive use of electrical equipment and wires for decorations for New Year’s celebrations.
They caught fire due to excessive heating of the electric wire. Cambodia’s English-language news website Khmer Times quoted Poipet city governor Keet Hul as describing the chaos that broke out during the fire. “The hotel and casino personnel used fire extinguishers to extinguish the fire, but it did not work,” Hull said. People were in panic and running around, they were running towards the nearest gate. “I was told that there was a stampede near the main gate,” he said.
The report quoted him as saying that it is feared that many people died due to suffocation and many people died due to jumping from a height to escape from the fire. The city of Poipet in western Cambodia is located near Thailand’s affluent city of Aranyaprathet and hosts a large amount of trade and tourism across the busy border. Casinos are illegal in Thailand, but the industry is prevalent in neighboring countries such as Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. The casino industry is highly prevalent in Cambodia and the Southeast Asian country is a popular tourist destination due to its convenient international connections.
Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen made his first public reaction to the incident on Friday during a road repair program in the southern province of Kampot. Expressing grief over the incident, he said that this incident shows that all high-rise buildings must have adequate fire protection equipment. He thanked those involved in the rescue operation, including Thailand.
Disclaimer:Prabhasakshi has not edited this news. This news has been published from PTI-language feed.