Fire broke out in one of the biggest markets in Battambang province, Battambang city at about 6pm yesterday, with firefighters struggling to put out the blaze.
The fire started when the market began to close for the day. Vendors were seen grabbing their belongings from the stalls, while black smoke was seen billowing out of the market roof.
Provincial governor Nguon Ratanak said last night, “I am ordering firefighters to put out the fire at the market,”
Suos Sopeak, director of the provincial information department, who was at the scene, said that most vendors had gone home when the fire took place.
“The fires took place at about 6 pm. Most vendors had already closed their shops inside at about 5pm,” he said. “There were only vendors selling fish and other goods outside the market.”
So far the cause of the fire is unknown.
“We have no report of casualties yet because officials are putting out the fire now,” he said last night.
Battambang city governor Pheng Sithi told reporters at the scene yesterday evening that no one had been found injured as of yet.
“Our police force are searching the scene, and there is no report of injury or death,” he said. “Before the fire, Battambang city had experienced heavy rain, which could have reacted with an electrical wire. We are waiting for electrical specialists to conduct an investigation and give us an explanation tomorrow (Aug 31).”
Sithi said that the provincial governor will conduct a meeting today to set up a commission to help clean up the market.
He added that seven fire trucks with around 30 water barrels were used to put out the blaze.
Sithi said that the vendors alerted him to the fire, asking him to help tackle the blaze as there was an electrical fault at one stall in the market.
“After I was informed, I reported to the provincial governor Nguon Ratanak, who ordered firefighters to intervene at once,” he said. “The first stall to set on fire was selling cooking oil, and all the oils were completely burned.”
Sithi said that last night, police officers were already stationed at the market to prevent looting, so the response time was quick. He added that this was the first incident of a fire in the city.
“According to the preliminary figures, around 40 stalls have been destroyed by the fire,” he said. “All of these stalls sold groceries and flammable items.”