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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Ryan Fahey

Death toll in Cambodia casino fire rises to 19 as scores injured in infernal blaze

A fire burning through a Cambodia n hotel casino has killed at least 19 people and injured 60 others, police said on Thursday.

Neighbouring Thailand sent fire appliances to help fight the blaze in the bustling border region.

Some victims were believed to still be under debris or in locked rooms that rescue teams could not access, so the death toll was expected to rise, said Sek Sokhom, head of Banteay Meanchey' province's information department.

He said more than 60 people were injured.

Videos posted on social media showed people apparently jumping from windows after they were trapped by the fire at the Grand Diamond City Casino and Hotel in the border town of Poipet.

In a video posted by Cambodia's firefighting agency, onlookers could be heard shouting pleas to rescue people trapped on the roof of the hotel complex, which is more than a dozen storeys tall at its highest point.

People jump from windows during an infernal blaze inside the Grand Diamond City hotel-casino in Poipet, Cambodia (AFP via Getty Images)

The video showed at least one man falling as the flames reached the roof.

"Oh, please help rescue them. Pump water, pump water," shouted the onlookers.

A partial collapse of the building was reported in addition to extensive damage, while firefighters later claimed to have around 70% of the fire under control.

Some other parts of the structure were also seen to be 'leaning' perilously several hours into the fire, which is thought to have started around midnight (5pm GMT).

Rescue workers gather outside the building today (STRINGER/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

A total of 53 people were stated to have been rescued at 8.30am local time (1.30am GMT) as the fire continued.

Thai fire group leader Patcharin Thaenthon revealing that its ferocity prevented them from entering the site

He told CNN: "When we arrived, we could not get in because the fire had already taken over the buildings".

Mr Thaenthon added many of the victims appeared to have died from smoke inhalation.

The gutted casino after firefighters quenched the flames (AFP via Getty Images)

Sithi Loh, police chief in Banteay Meanchey province, said 360 emergency personnel and 11 fire appliances were sent to the scene and rescue teams were looking for victims.

He said the cause of the blaze was not known. The casino employed about 400 people.

Thai PBS reported that 50 Thais, both staff and customers, were trapped inside the complex.

Cambodian firefighters and emergency responders (AFP via Getty Images)

It reported that Cambodian authorities requested help to deal with the fire from Thailand, which sent five fire appliances and 10 rescue vans.

Poipet in western Cambodia is opposite the more affluent Thai city of Aranyaprathet, and there is busy cross-border trade and tourism.

Thai PBS cited reports that the Aranyaprathet Hospital's emergency ward was full and other victims had to be sent to other hospitals.

Thai rescue workers recover the body of one of the fire's tragic victims (RUAMKATANYO FOUNDATION OF THAILAND/HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Civilian volunteers also joined fire crews in the response and rescue effort, with the speed of the original emergency response not yet clear.

Unconfirmed reports on social media said the fire had been burning "uncontrolled" at the hotel and casino complex for around six hours, with one video clip showing a large part of the roof still ablaze.

Several parts of the hotel appeared charred and completely hollowed out.

Poipet is located opposite a more affluent Thai town (AFP via Getty Images)

Staff at the casino section of the resort meanwhile escaped by walking on the ledges of the building in single file, while a crowd of people gathered outside helped them climb down.

A statement from Poipet mayor Keat Hol said: "The fire continues to burn quickly and the extent of the damage has not yet been estimated."

Rescue team remove the injured from the infernal hotel (RUAMKATANYO FOUNDATION OF THAILAND/HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Oum Rath, governor of Banteay Meanchey province, confirmed to local media that he was leading the firefighting operation and that efforts continued to bring the fire under control.

Thailand's public broadcaster reported dozens of Thais were trapped inside.

The blaze that started at about midnight on Wednesday was still burning on Thursday.

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