At least 20 stalls were razed on Tuesday night during a fire at Khlaing Romsev market in Phnom Penh’s Toul Kok district.
Colonel Prom Yorn, director of the municipal Fire Department, today said the fire broke out around 11.20pm at the market in Phsar Daeum Kor commune.
He noted that firefighters took about an hour and used around 30 fire trucks to extinguish the blaze.
“Approximately 20 stalls were completely destroyed, most of which were selling smartphones,” Col Yorn said. “We do not know the cause of the fire yet and cannot confirm the exact number of stalls which were affected because our officials are still investigating.”
Tidth Oudom, 27, who owned one of the affected stalls today said he was shocked when he saw the fire rip through the market.
“I don’t know the cause of the fire. When I arrived, my stall was already ablaze,” he said.
Mr Oudom estimated that he lost about $2,000 in the fire, noting that it was not much compared with other affected owners.
“I run a phone repair shop, so not much was lost,” he said. “Some of the other mobile phone sellers could have lost up to $10,000.”
Khoung Sreng, Phnom Penh Governor, said personnel from the municipal fire department, local authorities and armed forces rushed to the scene to help extinguish the blaze.
He noted that no one died or was injured in the blaze which occurred inside the market, forcing firefighter to use a water cannon.
“It took time for the firefighters to bring the water cannon in because the fire was already raging inside the market,” Mr Sreng said.
He added that police also found it difficult to prevent possible theft because several people, especially stall owners salvaging their property, were rushing in and out and officers did not know who the real owners were.
“I have ordered district police to guard the area to ensure that property, not damaged in the fire, are not stolen,” Mr Sreng noted.
Last month, a massive fire at a mattress factory in the capital’s Boeng Tumpun commune, left a seven-storey building on the brink of collapse.
Mr Sreng had noted then that the fire took almost 20 hours to put out.
According to a recent report by the National Police’s Fire Department there were 429 fires in the Kingdom during the first six months of this year, an increase of 78 cases compared to the same period last year. Ten people died, 46 were injured and 418 houses were destroyed in fires across the country this year.