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1 killed as blaze guts historic teak wood Yangon hotel

/ 01:01 PM October 19, 2017

A firefighter tried to extinguish a fire at Kandawgyi Palace Hotel in Yangon on October 19, 2017. One person was killed as the pre-dawn blaze engulfed and gutted the teakwood hotel. (AFP PHOTO / YE AUNG THU)

One person was killed as fire razed on Thursday a historic teakwood hotel in Yangon popular with foreign visitors to Myanmar’s main city.

The pre-dawn blaze gutted the lakeside Kandawgyi Palace Hotel, a colonial-era building owned by a Myanmar businessman notorious for making his fortune under the former junta.

Hundreds of firefighters tried but failed to quell the inferno, which broke out at around 3a.m. local time (2030 GMT). The fire consumed the luxury hotel.

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An AFP reporter at the scene saw a white plastic sheet covering a body retrieved from the fire, but there was no immediate confirmation of further casualties.

“We don’t know why the fire started. We’re sad that such a historic and beautiful place was completely destroyed,” a witness Kyi Kyi told AFP, standing near the still smouldering ruins of the building.

Another witness, wearing a branded shirt of the Htoo company which owns the hotel, said: “It is really bad. All has gone now.”

The Htoo company, which spans construction, timber, resorts and an airline, was founded by Tay Za, a controversial tycoon who spun millions of dollars through close junta links.

Guests at the destroyed 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.

The oldest parts of the Kandawgyi hotel date to the 1930s when British army officers used the site as rowing club.

Myanmar’s reputation as one of the region’s hottest new destinations has also been battered by global censure over an army crackdown on its Rohingya population.          /kga

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TAGS: Accident, Fire, History, Hotel, Myanmar, teak wood, Yangon
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