Ten Injured in Early Morning Hotel Blaze

An early morning fire at the Pich Nil Hotel Thursday left 10 women injured after they jumped from second- and third-story windows to escape the flames, ac­cording to police and witnesses.

There were no deaths. Most of the victims were treated for cuts and broken bones and released from Calmette Hospital later Thurs­day, hospital Director Heng Tai Kry said.

The blaze began at about 7:20 am. Kim Ngoun, a member of the Don Penh Flying Tigers police unit, said he spotted smoke as he was passing the hotel, located on Street 200. He fired his gun in the air to alert police and firefighters.

The fire started on the ground floor near the stairwell, he said, so he began yelling at hotel residents in the four-story building to break the windows and jump.

One of the hotel’s residents, 25-year-old Nguyen Thi Lieu, said there was thick smoke in her second-story room when she awoke. Wielding a stick, she smashed the window and jumped to the street below.

At Calmette, she was treated for cuts and abrasions caused when she landed on the ground in the broken glass.

“I don’t know where to go now,” said a teary Nguyen Thi Lieu, as she waited for news on the condition of friends and her five sisters, who were also injured when they jumped.

It was unclear how many people were in the hotel at the time.

Witnesses said at least 15 wo­men—mainly Vietna­mese taxi girls, ac­cording to po­lice—have been left homeless by the blaze. Most escaped with nothing but the pajamas they were wearing when the fire broke out.

One woman, who stood in her pajamas on the sidewalk looking at the blackened building, said she had managed to take only her mobile phone with her when she escaped.

Authorities believe the fire was caused by faulty wiring in the electric circuit box on the hotel’s ground floor. Heng Taikry said the hotel’s owner paid the hospital bill for most of the guests.



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