More than 600 vendors at Chbar Ampov market asked the government to build a new roof for the market, but said they would rebuild their own stalls, after a fire destroyed most of it on Thursday night.
The vendors gathered yesterday morning at the Chbar Ampov pagoda to meet with authorities and discuss the aftermath.
Neither fatalities nor injuries were reported in the blaze, which started at about 11pm and raged on until Friday morning. A total of 646 of the market’s 1,447 stalls were completely destroyed.
The market is located in Chbar Ampov district near the Monivong Bridge on National Road 1.
Chan Thy, a 32-year-old vendor, said her fellow vendors only asked the government to help build a new roof for the market.
“We brainstormed and decided to ask the state to help build the market’s roof while vendors themselves will rebuild their own stalls. Most of the vendors are in debt,” she said.
Another vendor Suy Kieng, 60, said the vendors needed some help from the government to get their businesses back open.
“We do not demand any compensation because it was an accident. No one wanted it to happen. But we just need a little help from the government to reopen our businesses,” she said.
She added that vendors also asked authorities to rid the market of fire debris in order for them to get back to work as soon as possible.
“We need authorities to clean the market quickly and respond to us about building the roof so we can come back to sell as usual,” she said.
Neth Vantha, head of the National Police’s fire department, said 250 truckloads of water were needed to extinguish the fire, which was caused by an electrical fault.
“Authorities are still investigating. The blaze completely destroyed 646 stalls,” he said.
Cheng Monyra, governor of Chbar Ampov district, said local authorities would clean the market in a timely fashion, while he would bring the vendors’ suggestions to City Hall.
“Authorities collected all of the vendors’ suggestions and will report to the government for a decision,” he said.
Meanwhile, fire brigades in Siem Reap province also had their work cut out for them on Friday morning, extinguishing a fire at the Angkor Grand Theatre.
Tith Narong, police chief of Siem Reap city, said police were investigating to determine the cause of the blaze, which needed 20 truckloads of water to extinguish.
“Some of the theatre was damaged by the fire. Authorities tried to stop it,” he said.
On Saturday morning, Culture and Fine Arts Minister Phoeung Sakona promised to repair the theatre as quickly as possible.
The Angkor Grand Theatre was built with joint Chinese and local investment and just opened in October.
In February, a fire killed two people and destroyed 220 of 279 stalls at the Sen Monorom market in Mondulkiri province. The vendors later decided to rebuild their stalls themselves.
In 2014, a fire also ripped through Phnom Penh’s Old Market and destroyed about 300 of its 914 stalls, which vendors also rebuilt on their own.