Cambodia: At least 19 people dead after deadly fire breaks out at casino

Hundreds of firefighters and emergency personnel fought through the night to get the blaze under control

At least 19 people have died after a massive fire that lasted more than 12 hours took hold at a Cambodian hotel casino.

The blaze ignited at the Grand Diamond City casino and hotel in the town of Poipet, which borders with Thailand.

More than 60 people are also thought to have been injured by the fire. An initial investigation found that the blaze may have been due to an electric overload caused by New Year's decorations.

Videos posted on social media showed people falling from a roof after they became trapped in the building.

In a clip 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 stories tall at its highest point.

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

According to the Department of Fire Prevention, Extinguishing and Rescue, calls for help could be heard from the 13th, 14th and 15th floors of the building.

Victims of the fire receive bottles of water from police officers. Credit: AP

The blaze, which started around midnight on Wednesday, was finally put out at 2pm on Thursday, said Sek Sokhom, head of Banteay Meanchey's information department.

He added that a local Buddhist temple was being used to receive the dead.

Officials have warned that the final death total is likely to rise above what has already been announced, with dozens unaccounted for.

Banteay Meanchey police chief Sithi Loh said 360 emergency personnel and 11 firetrucks had been sent to the Grand Diamond City casino and hotel, which employs around 400 workers.

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

Casinos are illegal in Thailand, but other countries in the region, such as Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos host the lucrative industry.

Cambodia has an especially active casino industry because the country is also a popular tourist destination with convenient international connections.

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