An early morming blaze yesterday razed nearly 70 stalls in Banteay Meanchey province’s O’Ambel market, causing damage estimated at $300,000.
Major General Ath Khem, provincial police chief, yesterday said that the fire occurred at about 4am and the authorities, police and fire fighters managed to douse the fire by about 7am.
He said that they used eight fire trucks and 33 water tankers to fight the blaze in Serei Sophorn city’s O’Ambel commune.
Chhim Vuthy, commune police chief, yesterday said 67 out of more than 100 stalls in the market and a nearby house were completely destroyed but there were no casualties.
“The fire started at about 4 am and the fire trucks arrived quickly to help,” he said. “But it was difficult to put out the fire because all the stalls were made of wood and were locked.”
“Fire fighters had to remove the zinc roofs before being able to spray water inside,” Mr Vuthy noted.
He said the blaze is believed to have been caused by a short circuit because villagers heard a small explosion before the blaze.
Mr Vuthy added that sparks ignited trash near a generator and the fire quickly spread to the stalls.
“Luckily, there was no one in the stalls because the owners were at home,” he said, adding the occupants in the house managed to flee on time. “The stalls which were damaged included those storing sacks of rice, cosmetics, groceries and tailoring materials all of which are highly inflammable.”
He noted that the local authorities are now discussing what to do with the market which has been badly damaged.
“Food and vegetable vendors will be allowed to temporarily operate along a sidewalk on the west of the market until we rebuild it or find an alternative site for them,” he said.
In another case, a blaze at a gasoline and gas station in Stung Treng province’s Stung Treng city on Friday evening injured six people and damaged three cars, four motorbikes and other equipment.
The Interior Ministry’s Fire and Rescue Police Department yesterday reported that the fire occurred at about 6pm at the Pa Chenda 2 gasoline and gas station where workers were doing welding work to repair a gas tank.
It said that fire fighters used six fire trucks to put out the fire and three of the injured people were sent to hospitals in Phnom Penh.
The department said that the other three, the gasoline and gas station owner, his wife and daughter, were sent to a hospital in Vietnam.