A deadly fire swept through a Cambodian casino hotel on Thursday, killing at least 19 people and injuring at least 60.
Located in Poipet, a gambling town along the border of Thailand, the 17-story Grand Diamond City casino hotel caught fire overnight and continued to burn through Thursday afternoon.
Witnesses said the fire began around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday before spreading to nearby Poipet Resort Casino.
According to Sek Sokhom, a spokesman for Banteay Meanchey Province, the cause of the fire was an electrical short:
“The casinos consumed a lot of electricity for New Year’s preparation. We have a photo showing a wire burning in a gambling room.”
Due to the electrical short, hotel guests were trapped in rooms with electronic door locks that were no longer powered.
About 400 people were inside the casino hotel when the fire started, according to Sokhom.
A video posted to social media shows some guests jumping from hotel windows to escape the blaze.
Warning: The following videos contain graphic content that may be disturbing to some viewers
“Two people died immediately when they hit the ground and around four to five (others) broke their legs,” said Aranyaprathet Rescue Foundation spokesperson Peerapan Srisakorn
Other videos shared show guests fashioning ropes from sheets in their efforts to escape.
At least 100 people had been rescued by noon on Thursday.
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