At least 19 people died and 73 were hurt in the midnight fire that devoured three nearby casinos in Poipet town, Banteay Meanchey province, until the morning of December 29.
The Grand Diamond City Hotel and Casino, which is close to the international border checkpoint with Thailand in the O’Chrov commune, started the fire at around 10:45 p.m. on December 28, according to Bun Pheng, deputy provincial police chief in charge of fire prevention and rescue, who spoke to The Post.
Citing eyewitnesses at the scene, he said that the flames initially tore through the casino’s southern side before spreading to its north tower and a neighboring structure, nearly destroying the three systems in total.
Police discovered 19 bodies and 73 injured persons, including 23 who were critically hurt, as of 3 p.m. on December 29. Most of the victims were Thai, and they were taken to a Thai hospital in the Aranyaprathet area of [Sa Kaeo province],” he said.
He said that even though they were concentrating on search and rescue efforts and cadaver retrieval, the police were still trying to figure out what started the fire.
400 individuals, essentially casino employees and Thai visitors, were left stranded on the roofs of the structures, according to Nhem Phoeng, chief of administration at the Poipet Town Hall.
To put out the fires and free individuals who were trapped in and on the structures, our firemen tirelessly fought alongside auxiliary forces from the Thai side. “Those trapped on the roof were rescued by helicopters,” he said.