1 dead, 2 injured in Kandawgyi Palace blaze

Htoo Group representatives speak at a press conference at the Yangon Zoological Gardens on October 19, 2017.
Htoo Group representatives speak at a press conference at the Yangon Zoological Gardens on October 19, 2017.

One male guest was killed by the fire that engulfed Kandawgyi Palace Hotel last night, representatives of the hotel’s parent Htoo Group confirmed at a press conference in Yangon today. However, neither the identity or the nationality of the deceased have yet been determined.

Additionally, a 24-year-old woman from Macau is in critical condition at the Yangon General Hospital, and one firefighter is receiving treatment for smoke inhalation.

The fire was first reported just after 3am this morning. Htoo Group representatives said the hotel was too understaffed at that hour to fight the fire, which is thought to have begun on the fourth or fifth floor.

The Fire Services Department dispatched 80 trucks to the hotel and managed to get the fire under control by 8am.

“When the fire started, we had two options – try to put out the fire or evacuate the guests. Since there is nothing more important to us than our guests, our staff focused on getting them out of the building,” said Raymond Bragg, the CEO of Htoo Hospitality, who lives at the hotel.

He also said the police and the Fire Services Department have an idea as to what started the blaze, but they have not released their findings yet.

One guest reported there no fire alarm sounded and that she was ushered out of the building by staff who woke her during the night.

Htoo Group spokesman Htay Lwin said the hotel is insured by one local insurance provider and one international provider, and the guests will be compensated for their losses.

The Kandawgyi Palace Hotel was purchased for US$29 million by the Htoo Group from Bangkok-based Baiyoke Group of Hotels. The Htoo Group is headed by the military-linked tycoon Tay Za.

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