Poipet Casino Blaze Kills at Least 19

As rescuers continue to battle a blaze that ripped through a casino in Poipet, officials confirm 19 have been pronounced dead with 60 hospitalized – and the figure is expected to rise
Remains of the Grand Diamond City Hotel and Casino after the blaze. Kiripost via Banteay Meanchey Provincial Police
Remains of the Grand Diamond City Hotel and Casino after the blaze. Kiripost via Banteay Meanchey Provincial Police

At least 19 people have been killed and 60 injured in a fire that engulfed a hotel and casino in the border town of Poipet on Wednesday evening.

National Committee for Disaster Management spokesman, Soth Kimkol Mony, told Kirpost that about 1,500 people were at Grand Diamond City Hotel and Casino at Poipet International Gate in Banteay Meanchey Province when the blaze started.

They comprised 1,000 guests and 500 employees. At the time of publication 19 had been pronounced dead and the 60 injured were sent to Thailand for treatment.

City Governor Keat Hol said they have not received the official number of people killed and injured yet as residents were in different locations and the estimate may be wrong.

“We have extinguished it, but not completely, and the force is continuing to put out the fire to review how many people are in there, but it is not yet clear,” Hol told Kiripost.

Director of Banteay Meanchey Provincial Information Department, Sek Sokhom, told Kiripost he believes more people will be found dead and injured as all of the rooms have not been opened yet. Many rooms remained off bounds until the fire is completely contained.

He added that according to information he received at about 2pm from an unofficial source, a Poipet pagoda is preparing to receive hundreds of bodies. However, he has not seen any bodies being transported there.

“As of this afternoon, the rescue operation is still in a state of disrepair. We see that there is no fire outside, inside the rooms, inside the building of the casino, are all affected and all the rooms are on fire. There is still danger, it is out of power, so everyone in the room is stuck,” he said.

He added that according to a technician, the cause of the fire has been confirmed as guests marking the festive season by lighting up a picture. This caused the electric wires to overheat, sparking the fire.

According to Sar Kheng’s official Facebook page, Cambodian joint forces, with the support of the Thai side, intervened to extinguish the fire and rescue staff and guests. After the fire was dampened, the joint police force was able to search for victims and send casualties to hospital for immediate treatment.

Grand Diamond City Hotel & Casino is located in Kbal Spean Village, Poipet Commune, Auchav District, Banteay Meanchey Province. It opened in 2000.