Police put Kandawgyi Palace fire damages at $27.5 million

By HTUN KHAING | FRONTIER

YANGON — A preliminary investigation into the fire that gutted one of Yangon’s most iconic buildings last month has estimated a damage bill of almost K38 billion (US$27.5 million), police said Tuesday.

Deputy Major Zaw Naing Win of the Mingalar Taung Nyunt police station said the fire at the Kandawgyi Palace Hotel was caused by faulty electrical wiring, setting off a blaze that quickly engulfed the building’s teak interior in the early hours of October 19.

Two foreign tourists died in the fire and two others were seriously injured. Several hotel guests told Frontier hours after the blaze that they had neither heard a fire alarm nor seen any fire sprinklers in operation as the blaze spread.

Built in the early 1990s, the hotel was owned by well-known tycoon and Htoo Group chief U Tay Za.

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Numerous agencies were involved in the investigation, including the police, Fire Department, General Administration Department, and representatives of the Immigration and Tourism ministries.

Hotel manager U Thiha, 41, was arrested by the police the day after the fire and is being held ahead of a preliminary trial on negligence and manslaughter charges on Thursday.

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