Cambodian officials said Friday at least 27 bodies have been recovered from the charred remains of a casino hotel complex in Poipet, on the country’s border with Thailand.
The cause of the fire at The Grand Diamond City casino and hotel was not immediately clear, but Sek Sokhom, head of the Banteay Meanchey provincial information department, told Reuters that the blaze may have been due to an electrical short circuit.
Firefighters and rescue teams from Thailand were deployed across the border to help extinguish the fire and to engage in the search and recovery process. Many victims of the fire were transported to hospitals in Thailand.
Eung Buleng, a survivor of the fire, told VOA, “People on the upper floors were terrified and didn’t know how to escape. I think it would have been OK if there were more fire trucks.”
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Friday after expressing his condolences for the victims and their families, “Seeing this, we must be better equipped. We need firetrucks capable of spraying water on high-rise buildings.”
Yong Kim Eng, President of the People Centre for Development and Peace, an NGO, questioned the safety of the complex’s buildings. He said, “It’s very sad. Cambodia is building a lot of high-rise buildings. We need to go back to reevaluate the safety systems in existing buildings to avoid similar accidents.”
About 400 people – both guests and employees – were thought to have been in the complex when the fire erupted.
Source: Voice of America