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Fire at Cambodian casino near Thai border kills at least 10 people


A fire engulfed a casino hotel in a Cambodian gambling town along the Thai border on Thursday, killing at least 10 people and injuring at least 30, a Cambodian provincial official said. said.

Sek Sokhom, a spokesman for Banteay Meanchey province, said the blaze at Grand Diamond City started overnight and continued to rage on Thursday afternoon, leaving the 17-story building on the brink of collapse.

Mr Sek said he expected casualties to rise as “dozens” of people remained trapped, including hotel guests unable to escape rooms with electronic door locks that no longer worked.

Mr. Sek said the fire was caused by an electrical short. “Casinos consume a lot of electricity to prepare for Tet. We have a photograph that shows a burning wire in a gambling room.”

Grand Diamond City is located in Poipet, a rapidly growing town of 100,000 inhabitants and home to around 20 casinos. The town, about 220 miles northwest of the capital Phnom Penh, attracts thousands of tourists daily from neighboring Thailand. Many people come to gamble, which is illegal in both Cambodia and Thailand, but is allowed for foreign passport holders in Cambodia.

According to eyewitnesses, the fire started in Grand Diamond City around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday. Sek said about 400 people were in the casino hotel when the fire broke out. Cambodia’s fire brigade was assisted by Thai emergency services in fighting the blaze.

According to eyewitnesses, the fire spread to an adjacent resort, Poipet Resort Casino. Sin Sambath, 42, a Cambodian at the scene, said: “The buildings were completely destroyed by the fire.

Several hotel guests jumped from windows to escape the flames, videos posted on social media showed. “They broke their legs and arms,” Mr. Sin said. Nearby hospitals were packed with patients injured in the fire. At least 100 people were rescued by noon on Thursday.

Families who were in Grand Diamond City anxiously waited for news outside. Khieu Naron, 63, said as he waited for information about his 22-year-old daughter-in-law, Chana, an employee at the Grand: “I’m not allowed in the building, so there’s nothing I can do. Diamond City, who she said worked up to 20 hours a day.

“I have only 50% hope that she is alive,” she said.

Authorities said most of the dead and wounded were Thais, some from Indonesia and the Philippines. Many of the injured were taken to hospitals in Thailand for treatment, they added.

The casino fire in Cambodia follows two other deadly fires at entertainment venues in Southeast Asia this year. In August, a fire at a nightclub in Thailand killed 26 people. In September, a fire at a Vietnamese karaoke bar killed 32 people.

The Cambodian government recently warned of an increased fire risk during the dry season, from November to April.

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