A THAI helicopter flew to rescue Thais stuck on the rooftop of a blazing luxury Cambodian hotel and casino in Poipet, just opposite Rong Kluea market in Aranyaprathet subdistrict, Sa Kaeo province, with the 17-storey building on the verge of collapsing, Matichon newspaper said this morning (Dec. 29).
Staff of Grand Diamond City Hotel and Casino said the fire started in the ground floor kitchen and then quickly spread to the other parts of the complex because Poipet only has one firetruck and the Cambodian firemen were unable to control the blaze.
As the fire started spreading through the structure, with the first three floors being a casino and upper floors a luxury hotel with over a hundred rooms, the Thai side offered to help extinguish it but Cambodian immigration officials refused entry.
It was only after the blaze had spread to other floors that the Thai firemen and firetrucks were allowed to go across and help put it out.
After the fire broke out the hotel’s guests, who are mostly Thais, chaotically ran out of the building with around 40 of them climbing to the rooftop and waiting to be rescued.
Thai authorities sent a helicopter to help them but strong wind and thick black smoke made it very difficult to reach the rooftop. Rescue operation was still continuing at press time.
FM91 radio station said that at 7.30 a.m. 70% of the blaze had been put out but there were still people stuck in the building and hotel staff were trying to rescue them with the structure on the verge of collapsing,
The huge fire at Grand Diamond City Hotel and Casino in Poipet, Cambodia, opposite Thailand’s Aranyaprathet subdistrict. Photos: Matichon