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Inferno at Siem Reap gas station injures 13 including American and British

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
Siemreap LPG blaze
Firefighters battle the blaze. National Police

More than 10 people on Wednesday were hurt in a fire caused by an explosion while a fuel tanker was transferring gas to a storage tank at a station in Siem Reap province.

Provincial Governor Tea Seyha yesterday said the explosion occurred at about 1pm and sparked a blaze at the 24-hour LPG station in Siem Reap city’s Sla Kram commune.

He said 13 people, including two foreigners, were injured.

“Two of the victims, a police officer and a woman, were seriously injured,” he noted. “They were sent for treatment in Thailand along with four other victims, while the others are in the provincial referral hospital.”

Mr Seyha said luckily no one was killed in the blaze.

He said that following the explosion, he ordered his officials to inspect the technical specifications of all liquefied petroleum gas stations throughout the province to prevent a similar accident.

“I discussed the issue with the provincial mines department director and we will conduct checks on all gas and petrol stations in the province,” Mr Seyha said.

He said that the explosion at the LPG station took place because the owner had gone against specifications and built a roof above the storage tank.

Mr Seyha noted that leaking gas froze on top of the roof and was responsible for the explosion.

LPG blah Siemreap
Debris litters the site of a fire following an explosion at the gas station. National Police

Captain Thim Rithea, commune police chief, yesterday identified the provincial police officer who was seriously hurt as Captain Huot Mony Pisak, 35.

Cap Rithea identified the two foreigners as Abigail Alexander, 18, an American, and Zoe Eleftheriou, 22, a Briton, both of whom are teachers at an international school in the province.

He said the other victims were Keo Pung, 44, Chhean Khun, 20, Khhin Khan, 23, Trut Vai, 21, Sai Sikimsan, 21, Hout Rath Mony, 66, Chin Khavdang, 32, Boeun Kuy, 41, Tem Leangheng, 64, and Long Phearin, 36.

Cap Rithea said seven of the victims, including Cap Mony Pisak, were sent to Thailand for treatment.

He said the others were sent to either the provincial referral hospital or to Phnom Penh.

Major General Neth Vantha, National Police Fire Prevention Department director, yesterday said that according to investigations, the explosion was caused during the transfer of gas from the tanker into the storage tank.

“The transfer was done improperly and some gas leaked,” he said. “The station owner asked the staff to turn off the electricity and there was a sudden explosion.”

Brigadier General Phing Sambath, provincial deputy police chief, said 12 fire trucks with 30 tanks of water were used to extinguish the blaze.

The Mines and Energy Ministry yesterday issued a press statement saying that the LPG station did not have a licence to operate.

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