Fire at casino hotel on Cambodia-Thai border kills and injures dozens

Phnom Penh: A fire burning through a Cambodian hotel casino has killed at least 10 people and injured 30 others, police said on Thursday.

Videos posted on social media showed people apparently jumping from windows after they were trapped by the fire at the Grand Diamond City Casino and Hotel in the border town of Poipet. Thailand’s public broadcaster reported dozens of Thais were trapped inside.

A fire burning through the Grand Diamond City Casino and Hotel has killed multiple people and injured dozens of others, police said on Thursday.Credit:Fresh News/AP

The blaze that started around midnight on Wednesday (about 4am Thursday AEDT) and was under control, officials said.

At least 10 people have been killed and another 30 injured, some critically, said Major General Sithi Loh, police chief in Banteay Meanchey province.

He said 360 emergency personnel and 11 firetrucks were sent to the scene and rescue teams were looking for victims.

Sithi Loh said the cause of the blaze was not yet known. The casino employed about 400 workers.

Victims receive water from police officers near a Cambodia-Thai international border gate in Poipet, west of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.Credit:Fresh News/AP

Thai PBS reported that 50 Thais, both staff and customers, were trapped inside the complex. It reported that Cambodian authorities requested help to deal with the fire from neighbouring Thailand, which sent five firetrucks and 10 rescue vans.

Poipet’s casinos are hugely popular with short-term visitors from Thailand, where gambling is illegal and unlicensed casinos operate underground.

The town in western Cambodia is opposite the more affluent Thai city of Aranyaprathet, and there is busy cross-border trade and tourism.

At least 32 people were being treated in hospitals in Sa Kaeo province across the border, Thailand’s Health Ministry said. Provincial authorities said one Thai national had died in hospital.

Thai PBS cited reports that the Aranyaprathet Hospital’s emergency ward was full and other victims had to be sent to other hospitals.

Cambodia’s Fresh News showed images of the facade of the casino blackened by smoke, with fires still burning on the ground floor and charred debris on the pavement outside.

Video footage showed the fire raging during the night, with flames engulfing multiple parts of the building and thick smoke billowing out.

AP, Reuters

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