NagaWorld Casino Undamaged During Blaze

A fire at Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld casino that blanketed the complex in smoke for several hours Saturday morning did not damage the hotel or casino, officials said Sunday.

Nobody was injured, said Paul Simmons, senior vice president for operations at NagaWorld, who said firefighters confined the blaze to the parking garage at the rear of the facility, which allowed casino operations to resume by noon Saturday.

“The smoke looked worse than it was,” Simmons said Sunday in the casino foyer. “As you can see, it’s business as normal.”

Um Sitha, lieutenant of the Phnom Penh municipal fire department, said an electrical fault was to blame for the fire, possibly from a generator found inside the parking garage. Simmons said NagaWorld is still unsure of the fire’s cause and is investigating the matter.

The fire, which burned from 6 am to 10 am on the third story of the casino’s unfinished parking garage, required a dousing from 100 fire truck tanks, Um Sitha said.

“There were many kinds of wood and construction materials,” Um Sitha said by telephone Sunday, explaining the cause of the smoke. “We spent a lot of water to put down the fire, but it did not affect the casino gambling places.”

The hotel evacuated about 100 patrons into the street as the fire department fought to extinguish the blaze, Um Sitha said.

Simmons said NagaWorld meets city fire code regulations, but the parking garage is under construction and therefore lacked sprinklers or a fire alarm.

Owned and operated by Naga­Corp, Cambodia’s only publicly traded company, NagaWorld has 219 hotel rooms, with another 289 to open by the end of 2009, according to the company’s 2007 annual report.

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