A Japanese man was killed when a fire tore through a luxury teak wood hotel in Myanmar's largest city Yangon yesterday, destroying an iconic resort popular with foreign visitors. "The cause is under investigation", he said, adding around 140 guests were at the hotel when the flames erupted.
However, a firefighter from Shwepyithar Township, one of the dozens who battled the blaze for almost four hours to bring it under control, remains in a critical condition.
A firefighter also suffered a non-life-threatening head wound during the blaze and is also receiving treatment. Police are interrogating the hotel's nightshift manager and supervisor.
A total of 141 guests including 120 foreigners were staying in 96 rooms in the hotel and as the fire broke out, the guests were alarmed and evacuated to nearby hotels.
Htay Lwin said the hotel is insured under a policy that includes public liability insurance for guests.
The fire started around 3 a.m., in the Kandawgyi Palace Hotel and quickly engulfed the wooden building constructed mainly from teak, reports Efe news.
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Authorities were investigating the cause of the fire and the cost of the damage was not immediately clear, he added.
Adrienne Frilot, a tourist from California, told local news site Frontier that she initially thought the hotel staff who knocked on her door for minutes were drunken guests.
"The staff were so helpful", she said.
The hotel, which sits by the Kandawgyi lake, was built in the 1990s but its oldest section dates back to the 1930s, when the site was used as a rowing club by British army officers.
Tay Za - a controversial tycoon who spun millions of dollars through his close military links - founded the Htoo Group, which spans construction, timber, resorts and an airline.
The fire suddenly reached the lower floors too, and there it destroyed the floors and other pieces of equipment in the hotel interiors.