Lieutenant Juan Enrique Guerrero Arrieta of Nuevo Leon, an 18 year veteran firefighter, was one of the first on the scene of August’s horrific inferno which consumed Casino Royale while claiming the lives of 52 Mexican gamblers.
According to online gambling news in Mexico, the seasoned veteran, who was recently awarded the Medal of Merit in Civil Protection Heroic 2011 for lifetime achievement, reports that he has never witnessed a more horrific scene upon arriving at the blaze on August 25th, 2011.
After the blaze more and more superstitious Mexican gamblers began to sign up to foreign based online casino in Mexico, believing that bad luck comes in ‘sets of threes’, and that another fire will occur shortly at a different casino.
Upon arriving at the scene of the blaze the extreme heat and thick smoke prevented firefighters even in fire resistant gear from entering the structure.
Mr. Arrieta recounts the scene of horror – “When I arrived there were still people shouting, the piercing screams were clearly heard from deep inside the casino. Though the fire was coming under control no firefighter was able to stand the steel melting heat still emanating from the structure to enter and save anyone.”
When the heat died down, and the firefighters were finally able to enter the casino they were greeted with a scene of horror – “a completely charred woman was on her knees, completely burned, counting the beads on her rosary in prayer.” Some of the dead were still clutching their mobile phones which periodically rang.
“There were stacked bodies everywhere up to a meter (3 feet) in height, some burned and others suffocated. Some sitting on toilets, others completely naked, who began to suffocate and in desperation threw their clothes away. ”
The Casino Royale had no sprinklers and only one emergency exit was available, connected to the second floor and the basement.
“Casino Royale had security measures, but not in accordance with Mexican gambling laws. Yes there were many exits, but each one was obstructed by heavy slot machines bolted to the walls as a security measure against theft,” the lieutenant stated in his official report.
“I couldn’t sleep for three days, and for me, this fire was a terrorist act,” Lieutenant Juan Enrique Guerrero Arrieta says, “We did our best to save the people inside the casino, but it was not meant to be.”