Cambodia Hotel-Casino fire: 10 killed, 30 injured

Posted by DG, Date posted at January 3, 2023

POIPET, Cambodia. The fire at the Grand Diamond City hotel-casino at Poipet resulted in as many as 10 deaths and a growing number of up to 30 injured. The fire broke out late Wednesday night, the 29th of December, 2022, at around 11:30 PM local (1630 GMT) as stated by Cambodian police. 

Someone from the Thai rescue group the Ruamkatanyu Foundation said the blaze started on the first floor but spread quickly along the carpets, leaping up through the multi-storey building.

There have been dramatic rescues at the scene with some survivors being lowered against the backdrop of still an ongoing fire. As of the latest count, there are around 400 employees at the Grand Diamond City venue.

There were witness reports that an unidentified man was seen sitting on a window ledge as the smoke was still billowing from the window behind him. Also seen was a group of people that were huddled together precariously as flames are almost reaching their spot. 

Reporters of local media also mentioned that there were foreign nationals that were inside the casino hotel at the time of the fire. 

Some of the injured were also transferred to hospitals in Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province — as mentioned by a Thai foreign ministry source. They also mentioned, “The authorities have been trying to control the fire including by sending in firetrucks from the Thai side.”

Hotel-casino Ground Zero

This is not the first instance of an unexpected blaze at the territory in Poipet. Despite Cambodia being considered one of Southeast Asia’s poorest countries and citizens are officially barred from playing in the casinos — the area has served as a hub of hotel-casinos that are clustered near the Thai-Cambodian border.  

The Grand Diamond City fire follows two other fatal incidents that involved entertainment venues in nearby Thailand and Vietnam in 2022. A deadly fire broke out in the early hours of Friday, August 5th, at a nightclub in Thailand with at least 14 people killed and 35 injured. 

Back on September 6th, a fire tore through a Southern Vietnam karaoke bar that killed 12 and left 11 injured. The blaze engulfed the second and third floors of the building on Tuesday night, trapping customers and staff members as dense smoke filled the staircase and blocked the emergency exit as reported by state media.

The most massive inferno was back in 2009 during a New Year’s Eve party at Bangkok’s swanky Santika club. There were 67 deaths and more than 200 injured in the unfortunate event. Since then, the owner of Santika was jailed for three years over the blaze, which began when fireworks were set off as a rock band played on stage.

There have been concerns raised over the region’s lackadaisical attitude to health and safety regulations more so with its countless entertainment venues like bars, nightclubs and entertainment venues.

It’s a hefty price to pay if construction on these bars is mediocre. I did notice in the news that the fire easily spread via the carpets lain throughout the Grand Diamond City Hotel Casino. There are numerous ways to keep a venue safe. There are also retardants that are found in more expensive fabric and carpeting material which can really make a difference in preventing the fire from further spreading. I’ll take the news as a forewarning to simply go for venues that are known and recognized by peers and organizations that are of a high calibre on safety. Comment down below folks! You can also add there which venues you love most. Hope to hear from you soon! Thanks!

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