February 1, 2023

Cambodia casino fire: Horrific scenes in Poipet as people jump to escape deadly blaze

2 min read

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Victims jumped to their deaths from burning buildings as they tried to escape a deadly fire at a casino in Cambodia on Wednesday, Thai rescue workers said.

At least 11 people have been killed, but the death toll is expected to rise after a fire broke out at the Grand Diamond City Hotel and Casino in Poppet, near the border with Thailand, aid workers said.

Patcharin Thaenthong, leader of the Thai rescue team that responded to emergency calls from Cambodian authorities, said some of the victims appeared to have died of smoke inhalation. “When we arrived, we couldn’t go in because the fire had engulfed (most of) the buildings,” he said.

According to officials, about 700 Thai citizens were rescued and sent to hospitals in Thailand.

Pictures taken from the scene show large amber flames and plumes of smoke rising from the complex.

Firefighters work at the Grand Diamond City Hotel and Casino in Poppet, Cambodia.

Peerapan Srisakorn from the Aranyaprathet Rescue Foundation said he saw people jumping from burning buildings.

“Two persons died immediately after hitting the ground and about four to five (others) had their legs broken,” he said.

Parapan said he also saw at least nine bodies inside the buildings.

He suspects the fire started in a restaurant on the ground floor before spreading to other parts of the compound. “Some people ran to the roof, (thinking) the Cambodians might have a rescue crane to help – but they didn’t,” he said.

Firefighters are controlling the fire.

Weather conditions may have helped spread the fire, he added.

He said that there was a very strong wind last night. “The fire quickly spread to the upper floors and then all around, engulfing the entire building.”

He said he also saw a building without power and lights turned off.

It is not yet clear whether the fire has been fully extinguished.

Pecherin, the rescue leader, said he could still see large amounts of smoke, but no longer flames.

Bantemenche Provincial Police Commissioner, Major General Sethi Loh, said 300 police personnel, 11 fire trucks and several helicopters had been deployed.

He said the cause of the fire was still unclear and the cramped and elevated configuration of the hotel made it difficult to fully assess the nature of the fire.

Poipet, a transport hub between Cambodia’s Siem Reap and the Thai capital of Bangkok, is known for its many casinos.

Almost all forms of gambling are illegal in Thailand, although it is a popular vice in the country where many Thais cross the border to gamble legally.

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