Published: Sat, October 21, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Tourist dies as fire destroys landmark Myanmar hotel

Tourist dies as fire destroys landmark Myanmar hotel

One person died when a fire tore through a luxury teak wood hotel in Myanmar's main city Yangon on Thursday, destroying the iconic resort which is popular with foreign visitors.

The victim was male, according to firefighters.

Photos and video posted online show the spectacular blaze racing through the traditional Burmese-style building. The hotel was also engulfed by huge clouds of smoke.

"I'll never forget looking up and seeing the night sky turned red", said American David Powers, who escaped the blaze with his wife, 4-year-old daughter and their passports, phones and wallets.

There were 141 guests registered at the hotel when the fire started, including 120 foreigners. "There was no alarm and it just sort of sounded like there were drunken people in the hallways".

The fire reportedly started on the fifth floor, but the cause is still being investigated. Exploding gas cylinders hastened its spread, he said.

It was unclear how many others were killed or injured in the incident, but least one firefighter suffered from smoke inhalation, the report said.

Guests at the hotel had been moved to other hotels in Yangon, Myanmar's largest city which has made its mark on Southeast Asia's tourist trail since the country emerged from full junta rule.

Kandawgyi Palace Hotel is five-star lake-front hotel originally built by the British as an exclusive rowing club in 1934. It is now owned by the Htoo Group, a conglomerate controlled by Tay Za, a businessman who prospered under Myanmar's former military government.

"The staff were so helpful", she said.

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