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Fire kills child as parents attempt rescue in capital

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times Share:
Residents sit with the child’s body and collect donations. KT/Pann Rachana

A fire ripped through more than a dozen homes in Phnom Penh yesterday, injuring a couple who tried to save their son who was trapped in their house.

Colonel Prum Yorn, chief of the municipal fire department, yesterday said the fire broke out at 12pm in Khor village in Russey Keo district’s Chraing Chamres II commune.

The fire was put out about an hour later, but it was too late to save the child’s life.

“We received a report saying that a 12-year-old boy died and two other people were injured,” Col Yorn said. “I don’t know how the fire started, our officials are working on this case.”

Village chief Kork Matt identified the child as Leb Saitolos, son of 63-year-old Ly Leb and 50-year-old Ro Zimas. The couple was severely injured after trying to save their son.

“The [child] died at the scene and we saw his charred body,” Mr Matt said. “The parents of the victim were seriously injured.”

“When the fire started, the boy was at his house and he was unable to get out because of how big the fire was. He died at the scene,” he added. “It was careless of his parents to have left him home alone.”

A woman sorts through the debris of her home following the inferno. KT/Pann Rachana

Mr Matt said six homes were destroyed in the fire and no one knows how it started.

“At total of 13 houses were damaged, including six which were completely destroyed,” Mr Matt said. “We do not know the reason yet, but the child’s parents were sent to Calmette Hospital for medical treatment.”

Him Haychoeut, 38, said she was shocked when she saw her nephew’s charred body.

“We are filled with sorrow. We do not know how the fire started,” Ms Haychoeut said.

Ses Sokry, 39, said he witnessed the fire occurring at about 12pm at the victim’s home and it ravaged half of his house.

“I was sitting at home when I heard my daughter shouting,” Mr Sokry said. “When I ran out to see the fire, I saw the victim’s father splashing water, trying to save his son. But he was not able to rescue his son because the fire was very strong.”

Mab Teat, 50, said the fire engulfed his home, destroying it completely.

Mr Teat said it was his son who told him about the fire spreading.

“The fire was spreading from someone’s house and I learned about the fire from my child who came and told me,” he said. “I then collected my belongings, but I was only able to save my motorbike.”

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