Fire in Cambodia border casino finally put out
A fire that broke out in a border casino between Cambodia and Thailand has left at least 24 people dead, with many unaccounted for, but has been finally put out. The fire broke in the late hours of Wednesday night, at 11:30 pm local time according to Agence France-Presse and other media outlets, citing local sources.
The site, the Grand Diamond City Hotel & Casino located in the border town of Poipet, was quickly engulfed in flames. Local reports confirmed by international media agencies explain that the fire started on the lower floors, and possibly in one of the restaurants of the entertainment complex.
Bad weather conditions, such as wind, helped the blaze to spread across the building, alerting local authorities who descended on the scene of the disaster and began rescuing trapped guests and workers. The fire was extinguished on Thursday at 2 pm local time, making for more than 14 hours during which firefighters and emergency services from both sides of the border fought the inferno.
So far, reports put the toll at 24 dead and 70 injured people. Luckily, hundreds have been escorted out of the property. Some people are said to have jumped out of windows to avoid burning alive in the midst of the blaze.
At least two people died because of injuries caused by jumping off windows. Some people were said to have made it to the top of the building, hoping that authorities would be able to save them easier that way. A total of 360 emergency workers along with 11 fire trucks were dispatched to battle the disaster.
As to the exact number of guests and workers, these are still unknown, with some 400 people said to have worked at the property. Social media was quickly alit with reports of the blaze, with many videos showing firefighters battling to put out the fire in the early hours. The time of the accident is badly timed to coincide with a fairly busy period for local operators and a constant stream of Thai citizens.
Since casinos are illegal in Thailand, Cambodia has seized the opportunity to build a number of gambling options along its border with the country and tempt tourists into coming to spend money on gaming floors and amenities. Cambodia has often been criticized by neighbors for maintaining fairly lax health and safety regulations, however.
China, one of Cambodia’s most important economic partners in the region, has urged the government to clamp down on the illegal gambling sector.