Deadly fire in Cambodia leaves several dead and hundreds injured and tragic scenes of people jumping from burning buildings

cambodia casino fire

Phnom Penh, Cambodia () — A deadly casino fire in Cambodia left tragic scenes of people forced to jump from burning buildings in a frantic attempt to escape their deaths, Thai rescue teams said.

Rescuers said at least 11 people were killed, but the death toll was expected to rise later due to the fire at the Grand Diamond City Hotel and Casino in Poipet, on the Thai border.

Patcharin Thaenthong, the leader of a Thai rescue team that responded to emergency calls from Cambodian authorities, said some of the victims appeared to have died from smoke inhalation. “When we arrived, we couldn’t get in because the fire had already taken over (most of) the buildings,” he said.

Approximately 700 Thai citizens were rescued and sent to hospitals in Thailand, according to authorities.

Photos from the scene show huge, bright amber flames and plumes of smoke rising from the complex.

cambodia casino fire

Firefighters work at the Grand Diamond City Hotel and Casino in Poipet, Cambodia. (Courtesy of Peerapan Srisakorn)

Peerapan Srisakorn of the Aranyaprathet Rescue Foundation said he saw people jumping from burning buildings.

“Two people died immediately hitting the ground and about four or five other people broke their legs,” he said.

Peerapan said he also saw at least nine other bodies inside the buildings.

The fire is suspected to have started in a restaurant on the ground floor before spreading to other parts of the complex.

“Some people ran to the roof, (thinking) that the Cambodians might have a rescue crane to help, but they didn’t,” he said.

cambodia casino fire

Firefighters fight the fire. (Courtesy of Peerapan Srisakorn)

Weather conditions may have helped the fire spread, he added.

“It was very windy last night,” he said. “The fire quickly spread to the upper floors and then to all sides, engulfing the entire building.”

Peerapan said he also saw a building without power and the lights went out.

It is not clear if the fire has been completely extinguished.

Patcharin, the rescue leader, said he could still see large amounts of smoke, but he no longer saw flames.

Banteay Meanchey Provincial Police Commissioner Major General Sithi Loh said 300 police officers, 11 fire trucks and several helicopters had been deployed.

The cause of the fire remains unclear and the hotel’s narrow and elevated design made it difficult to fully assess the state of the fire, he said.

Poipet, a transportation hub between Siem Reap in Cambodia and the Thai capital, Bangkok, is known for its many casinos.

Almost all forms of gambling are illegal in Thailand, although it remains a popular vice in the country with many Thais crossing the border to gamble legally.

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Written by Editor TLN

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