The fire that destroyed a casino in Poipet City, killing over twenty people, exposed the ineffective fire rescue system and the challenges that rescuers must overcome.
Because of the tight lanes, Lieutenant General Neth Vantha, director of the National Police’s Fire Prevention and Rescue Department, expressed worry yesterday that the rescuers had a terrifying time getting to the victims of the fire that broke out on the 17th floor of Grand Diamond City casino.
“Although we have enough professional and human resources to tackle the situation, the tools and equipment were insufficient. We must get more up-to-date equipment, said Lt. Gen. Vantha.
He expressed regret at the disregard for fire safety and prevention practices displayed by business owners. He claimed that Poipet’s building owners have the reluctance to comply with fire officers who attempted to inform them of the safety precautions against fire.
The delay in notifying the fire rescue service was another significant obstacle in the rescue mission.
He asked the owners of the buildings and the local authorities to notify the federal authorities of the occurrences as soon as possible so that rescue efforts could begin promptly.
In order to reduce the number of victims, he claimed that the Poipet fire catastrophe highlighted the importance of coordinated efforts from all parties involved in the rescue attempt, including building owners, police, and firemen.
According to deputy chief Sum Sokhim of the Phnom Penh Municipal Police, the building’s proprietors did not work with trained police officials during the Poipet incident.
He urged owners of other structures, including casinos, condos, and commercial centers, to coordinate closely with fire officials in the event of an emergency. “In particular, they need to pay attention to clearing the building’s entry so that fire vehicles can get there unimpeded.
“Basic firefighting gear and fire safety instruction must be provided in every structure. They must also teach their employees how to help firemen and protect themselves, said Sokhim.
Seng Lot, the ministry’s spokesman, and Ly Rasmey, the secretary of state for the ministry of land management, urban planning, and construction, were unavailable for comment yesterday.
Sek Sokhom, a spokesman for the provincial government of Banteay Meanchey, said that while the rest of the remains had already been sent to the family of the deceased, the bodies of six victims of the Poipet casino fire were still waiting to be identified.
“There were no Cambodians among the victims; they were all foreigners. Authorities temporarily shut the site while they conducted additional checks and called off the search for other victims, Sokhom continued.