Massive fire destroys Yangon’s landmark hotel, kills one

Police officers stand guard during a fire at Kandawgyi Palace hotel in Yangon, Burma, Oct 19, 2017

A MASSIVE fire on Thursday destroyed one of Yangon’s best-known hotels, sending dark smoke billowing over the centre of Burma’s largest city and triggering an hours-long battle to put out the flames.

Tragically, one person was killed in the early morning blaze, which broke out around 3.20 am at the teak-and-stone Kandawgyi Palace Hotel overlooking a picturesque inner-city lake.

It was not immediately clear what caused the fire, authorities told Reuters.

An unidentified body was found in a guest room and two people were injured, hotel owner Htoo Group spokesman Htay Lwin.

Authorities were investigating the cause of the fire and the cost of the damage was not immediately clear, he added.

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“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 said, as quoted by Channel News Asia (via the AFP)

Another witness said: “It is really bad. All has gone now.”

The fire was mostly extinguished by 7 am, and more than 140 guests were shifted to nearby hotels.

Htoo Group is chaired by business tycoon Tay Za, who, until last year, was on the list of United States sanctions for his close links to Burma’s former military regime.

***Additional reporting by Reuters