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Search ended after 27 confirmed dead in Cambodia hotel fire

THE STAR – Four days after the devastating fire that engulfed a high-end hotel in north-western Cambodia, near the Thai border, the rescue services ended their search for further victims, according to media reports.

A total of 27 people were killed in the blaze that broke out in the 17-storey Grand Diamond City Hotel and Casino in Poipet on Wednesday night, the Khmer Times reported yesterday, citing a spokesperson for the disaster protection agency.

Among the dead were 17 guests from Thailand, as well Malaysian, Nepali and Chinese nationals, he said.

Many of the victims died of smoke inhalation or injuries sustained when they jumped out of the burning building.

“We have not been able to identify seven bodies,” the spokesperson said. Over 100 people were injured in the fire. It was now being investigated “who should be held responsible”, Banteay Meachey province governor Oum Reatrey was quoted as saying in the report.

One potential reason that could have caused the fire is a short circuit, as the hotel had been heavily decorated with lights for the holidays, according to a spokesperson for the authorities.

It took firefighters 39 hours to extinguish the blaze, Reatrey said. Over 1,200 emergency forces from Cambodia and Thailand as well as several helicopters had been deployed to the scene.

Military police walk through a burnt out part of the Grand Diamond City hotel following a major fire at the complex. PHOTO: AFP