Massive fire breaks out at Kandawgyi Palace

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A firefighter walks through the burned-out Kandawgyi Palace Hotel, Thursday, Oct. 19, in Yangon, Myanmar.

One person was killed and two were injured yesterday in a massive fire that destroyed one of Yangon's best-known hotels, sending dark smoke billowing over the centre of Myanmar's largest city. The incident happened at 3 am in the Kandawgyi Palace Hotel, a popular destination among tourists and high-profile travellers.

It took hundreds of firefighters several hours to put out the blaze.

"The embers floating through the sky looked like hellish snowflakes", he said. Emergency service vehicles can be seen parked in the adjacent street.

"There was no alarm and it just sort of sounded like there were drunken people in the hallways", she said, adding that staff helped to guide her and others to safety.

It is unclear how the fire began, with varying media reports of either a gas cylinder explosion or an electrical wire short-circuiting.

Kyaw Kyaw said one firefighter suffered from smoke inhalation.

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The colonial-era hotel was a Yangon landmark.

The upper floors of the hotel were destroyed and the blaze also appeared to have swept through the cement ground and first floors.

The fire reportedly started on the fifth floor, but the cause is still being investigated.

"We realised that something was wrong and opened the door and we smelled the smoke and then evacuated immediately", she told the publication.

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

"The staff were so helpful", she said.

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