Hotel-casino fire in Cambodia’s Poipet city kills at least 27 people

Operators put the body of one of the deceased in the fire into a vehicle. – DEPARTAMENTO DE INFORMACIÓN CAMBOYA

The death toll from Wednesday’s fire at a hotel-casino in the Cambodian town of Poipet, near the Thai border, has risen to 27, authorities in Banteay Meanchey province confirmed Friday.

Sources quoted by the Rasmei Kampuchea news portal have indicated that among the dead there are 19 Thais, while another 15 people are still missing and more than a hundred have been injured by the fire.

The provincial governor, Oum Rath, stressed that the fire was extinguished at 4.00 a.m. (local time) and added that rescue teams are still working at the site to try to locate possible survivors or the dead.

The Local Disaster Reduction Association of Thailand said that the Thai authorities have collaborated in the efforts to extinguish the flames at the Grand Diamond City Hotel and Casino, which would have been generated as a result of an overload in the electrical circuits, which could have been due to the installation of a multitude of lights for the Christmas and New Year holidays, according to ‘Khmer Times’.

For his part, the Cambodian Prime Minister, Hun Sen, has expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and has stated that «it is the worst tragedy that has occurred at the end of this year», as reported by the Cambodian state news agency AKP.

According to witnesses, as a result of the explosion some people jumped into the void. As a result many of them died or were seriously injured. Meanwhile, another group of people climbed onto the roof of the building and were evacuated with the help of emergency services helicopters.

Poipet Police Chief Prum Piseth said Thursday that «it has taken a sustained effort over many hours by our brave officers and their Thai counterparts to bring this horrific inferno under control.» «This has been the biggest fire ever experienced by the province, or even the whole kingdom, as far as I know,» he remonstrated.