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Casino inferno blamed on electrical fault

POIPET: An electrical fault caused the devastating Poipet casino fire that killed 27 people, many of them Thais, Cambodian authorities said today (Dec 31).

By Bangkok Post

Saturday 31 December 2022, 03:18PM

A rescue team walks through the grounds of the burned-out Grand Diamond City hotel-casino in Poipet on Thursday (Dec 29). Photo: AFP

A rescue team walks through the grounds of the burned-out Grand Diamond City hotel-casino in Poipet on Thursday (Dec 29). Photo: AFP

Many of the bodies were found in stairways or trapped in rooms at the Grand Diamond City hotel-casino complex, after rescuers failed to reach them in time on Wednesday night and early Thursday.

“The accident was caused by an electrical short circuit,” said Kun Kim, deputy chairman of the National Committee for Disaster Management.

“Some people were burned to death, some died because of a lack of oxygen, and some were burned and died along exit ways,” he said.

He said authorities took too long to put out the flames, blaming the hotel-casino’s complex layout, as well as a lack of rescue equipment.

Cambodian emergency teams called off their efforts last night, with Kun Kim confirming that teams had searched all of the complex, reports the Bangkok Post.

Searchers failed to find any new bodies yesterday afternoon at the disaster site, although more dead had been expected to be found.

He said that 26 people - 17 Thais, one Malaysian and one Nepalese among them - had died in the blaze. Other bodies were still being identified. A 27th person was reported to have died in a hospital in Aranyaprathet, just across the border in Thailand, after being transported there.

It was reported earlier that all 27 of those who perished were Thai nationals but that figure is expected to be revised.

Um Reatrey, the governor of Banteay Meanchey province, was quoted as saying by The Associated Press that 17 of the dead were from Thailand, one each from Nepal, Malaysia and China, and six bodies were yet to be identified.

The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office in Sa Kaeo province said that of the 112 people injured in the blaze, 27 remained in hospitals as of yesterday and 85 had returned to their homes.

Cambodian authorities said they were deliberating whether charges would be brought against the hotel owners. The complex is reported to have been owned by fugitive Thai politician Vatana Asavahame, a key figure in one of the biggest corruption cases in the country’s history.

- Additional reporting by AFP

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Kamala Pete | 01 January 2023 - 15:50:33

Several years ago Australia had a major problem with chinese cable which was supposed to be rated for house wiring - within a year the insulation was denaturing and causing short circuits and fires. The casino probably had the same sh*t installed.

Kurt | 01 January 2023 - 13:03:09

Anyone surprised about the repeating entertainment places inferno's? Always the same: Unprofessional poor electric system. High inflamable cheap decoration/covering materials used. And there seem to be no authorities who check all this on safety. If the do, than they are to dumb in their work or turning a blind eye for a brown envelope. The repeating disasters prove that. Up to next.

JohnC | 01 January 2023 - 09:22:42

If being 100% truthful this should say casino inferno blamed on cheap materials and shoddy workmanship. If the building had been built to correct specifications using the correct grades of wiring there would have been no electrical faults. It is very difficult to find any building in this country that has been built properly without corners being cut to pocket extra profits.


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