Kandawgyi Palace death toll rises to 2, other details emerge

Photo: Myanmar Fire Services Department
Photo: Myanmar Fire Services Department

A second body was found yesterday in the ruins of the Kandawgyi Palace Hotel, which was engulfed by fire in the early hours of Thursday morning, bringing the current death toll to two.

The first body has also been confirmed to be that of a male Japanese guest at the hotel, though his identity is still unknown. Japanese media have reported that he was 50 years old.

“After we confirm the identity of the deceased, we plan to go to his or her country and will send our deepest condolences to the family,” Htoo Group spokesman Htay Lwin told Myanmar state media yesterday. Htoo Group is the parent company of the hotel and is owned by military-affiliated tycoon Tay Za.

A 24-year-old woman from Macau who was in the hotel reportedly injured her waist when she jumped from the third floor of the hotel to escape the fire. She is receiving treatment at the Yangon General Hospital.

A firefighter also suffered a non-life-threatening head wound during the blaze and is also receiving treatment.

There were 141 guests registered at the hotel when the fire started, including 120 foreigners. Of the hotel’s 185 rooms, 140 were destroyed.

Htay Lwin said the hotel is insured under a policy that includes public liability insurance for guests.

The fire reportedly started on the fifth floor, but the cause is still being investigated. Police are interrogating the hotel’s nightshift manager and supervisor.

At a press conference yesterday, Htoo Hospitality CEO Raymond Bragg said the hotel’s 60 staff who were present at the time prioritized evacuating guests over fighting the fire, whose source was not known at the time.

Htay Lwin said the hotel’s sprinkler system was fully functional and that the staff had been trained in fire safety procedures.

The Fire Services Department dispatched 500 firefighters and around 50 trucks to the scene at around 3:30am and had the fire under control by 6:20am and extinguished by 8:20am.

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