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Tragedy as about 16 die, 50 injured following fire outbreak at Cambodia hotel casino
Tragedy as about 16 die, 50 injured following fire outbreak at Cambodia hotel casino

A massive fire which razed for more than 12 hours at a casino in Cambodian hotel claimed the lives of at least 16 people, injured 50 and trapped others early on Thursday, Dec. 29.

The inferno began around midnight Wednesday, Dec. 28, and was still burning on Thursday morning.

Neighbouring country, Thailand had to send their firefighters to help put off the blaze in the border region.

Videos shared on social media showed people apparently jumping from the hotel windows after they were trapped by the fire at the Grand Diamond City Casino and Hotel in the border town of Poipet.

Thailand’s public broadcaster reported dozens of Thais were trapped inside.

In a video posted by Cambodia’s firefighting agency, onlookers could be heard shouting pleas to rescue people trapped on the roof of the hotel complex, which is more than a dozen stories tall at its highest point.

The video showed at least one man falling as the flames reached the roof.

“Oh, please help rescue them. Pump water… pump water,” shouted the onlookers.

The Department of Fire Prevention, Extinguishing and Rescue posted that calls from help were heard from the 13th, 14th and 15th floors at 4 a.m. and hands were seen waving from windows as well as a mobile phone’s flashlight signaling from inside the complex.

“The fire was massive, and was inside the casino, so it was difficult for our water cannons to reach it,” said a firefighter on the video posted online by the fire department.

He said that was the reason the fire continued burning around midday.


Banteay Meanchey province Governor Um Reatry told Cambodia’s Fresh News website that 11 people had died. Maj. Gen. Sithi Loh, the provincial police chief, said earlier in the morning that the toll was 10 dead with 30 injured, some critically. The toll appeared likely to rise as authorities searched for victims and critically hurt people succumbed to their injuries.

Sithi Loh said 360 emergency personnel and 11 firetrucks were sent to the scene. He said the cause of the blaze was not yet known.

The casino employed about 400 workers.

“Right now, we are trying to bring the dead bodies from the building down. I don’t think there will be any survivors because of very thick smoke. Even we all (the rescue staff) have to wear proper gear when we go inside the building, otherwise we cannot breathe at all,” said Montri Khaosa-ard, a staff member of Thailand Ruamkatanyu Foundation, a social welfare organization that sends volunteers to emergency scenes.

Thai PBS reported that 50 Thais, both staff and customers, were trapped inside the casino complex.

It reported that Cambodian authorities requested help to deal with the fire from Thailand, which sent five firetrucks and 10 rescue vans.

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