Grand Diamond City Casino Destroyed 19 Dead, 108 Injured
Officials said on Thursday that at least 19 people were killed and up to 30 were missing after a massive fire ripped through a casino-hotel complex in a Cambodian town near the Thai border.
When the fire broke out around midnight at the Grand Diamond City casino and hotel in Poipet, about 400 employees and patrons were inside, and up to 30 people were still missing, with 108 people injured.
Video footage showed the fire being put out by Thursday afternoon and a crew putting on respirator masks and fire-resistant hoods before entering a smoke-filled corridor in the building’s fire escape stairwell.
Mr. Khieu Sopheak, an interior ministry spokesperson, had previously stated that it was unclear how many people remained inside the charred building.
“We don’t know how many people are trapped inside, and we’re just trying to save lives right now,” he said, adding that the cause of the fire was still unknown.
Casinos in the capital of Phnom Penh and along the borders with Vietnam and Thailand are a draw for visitors from Asian countries that prohibit gambling.
Casino gambling Illegal in Thailand
Because gambling is illegal in the Kingdom, casinos in Poipet, Cambodia are extremely popular with short-term visitors from Thailand.
According to Thailand’s public health minister, 34 of the 108 known victims of the Poipet casino fire in Cambodia were sent for treatment in Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province, and one of them died.
According to Anutin Charnvirakul, 34 victims transported to Sa Kaeo were all Thai. He said 17 of the 34 patients were red-coded, and eight had to be referred to hospitals in other provinces.
“The majority of casino patrons suffered burns, smoke inhalation, and broken bones….” “The body fell from a great height,” Mr Anutin explained. He offered his condolences to everyone who had been affected by the tragedy.
He directed health officials to provide the best possible care, including identification, to all victims, both Thai and foreign.
According to provincial authorities, one Thai national died in hospital and 70% of those affected showed signs of smoke inhalation. Hundreds of personnel from the military, police, and rescue teams had joined the rescue effort, according to Cambodian police.
Video footage showed flames engulfing parts of casino, accompanied by thick billows of smoke.
It also showed people crammed together with firefighters at a rooftop bar in broad daylight, shielding their mouths from smoke pouring out of lower-floor doors and windows.
The fire broke out at the Grand Diamond City Hotel & Casino in Poipet, Cambodia, around 11.30 p.m. on Wednesday. The first three floors of the 17-story complex housed casinos and approximately 100 hotel rooms. Mr. Anutin stated that many Thais worked there.
Mr. Vatana Asavahame, an 86-year-old fugitive Thai politician, owns the casino complex. He is a former cabinet minister who fled the country in 2008 before being convicted in the Klong Dan wastewater treatment scandal, one of the country’s largest corruption cases in its history.