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Sunday, Jun 16, 2024

Huge fire in Poipet hotel-casino

Huge fire in Poipet hotel-casino

At least 10 people have died in a fire in a Cambodian hotel-casino on the border of Thailand, Cambodian police said on Thursday.
A provisional Cambodian police report seen by AFP said the fire broke out at the Grand Diamond City hotel-casino in Poipet about 11.30pm local time on Wednesday.

"About 10 people died and 30 people injured," the report said.

It was reported the fire began when a gas tank exploded on the casino side of the complex.

The blaze continued into Thursday morning.

Emergency crews from the provincial and national government were sent to assist. Crews were reported to have reached the upper floors and used crowbars to breach individual rooms.

Witnesses said they heard a series of explosions from the ground-floor kitchen of the complex, which is opposite Rong Kluea market in Aranyaprathet district of Thailand's Sa Kaeo province.

Dozens of people, many of them Thai employees and tourists, were reported trapped both inside and on the rooftop of the 17-storey complex, which included casinos on its first three floors and more than 100 luxury hotel rooms.

Fire crews and helicopters from Thailand were deployed to help fight the blaze and evacuate the premises.

Injured people were being rushed to hospitals in Aranyaprathet district. It was reported that emergency units were already overloaded in the border district. 

Thai authorities in Sa Kaeo province later said that more than 50 victims had been hospitalised there, with public health official Prapas Pookduang telling AFP that 13 people were "on life support".

The Sa Kaeo governor said another 60-odd people caught up in the conflagration had already been checked and cleared by Thai hospitals.

Governor Parinya said Thai hospitals had treated 79 Thai nationals, 30 Cambodians and eight Indonesians.

A volunteer with Thai rescue group the Ruamkatanyu Foundation said the blaze started on the first floor but spread quickly along the carpets, leaping up through the multi-storey building.

Images obtained by AFP showed the building consumed by flames, with firefighters seen struggling to contain the intense blaze and rescuers attempting to pluck people from a burning ledge. 

In one video, an unidentified man was seen sitting on a window ledge as smoke billowed from the window behind him. In another, a group of people huddled on a ledge, with flames near them.

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