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Fire destroys market in Kampong Thom

Fire destroys market in Kampong Thom

Officials mulling private partnership to help vendors keep their businesses from closure

A FIRE tore through the main market in Kampong Thom province’s Stung Sen district early Tuesday morning, destroying about 160 stalls, police officials and vendors said.

Nhgam Chunly, the police chief for Stung Sen district, said the fire began at around 2am as the vendors, many of whom live in the market, were sleeping.

“The fire damaged 160 stalls in Stung Sen market, and it took about two hours for the firefighters to put it out,” Nhgam Chunly said.

He said five fire trucks were dispatched to fight the blaze, and that they had completely doused the flames by 4am.

He added that officials had launched an investigation into the fire but were still not sure what had started it on Tuesday afternoon.

“We are still investigating this incident,” he said.

Vendors, meanwhile, were left to sift through the rubble of their former stalls.

Kong Srevon, 27, one of the vendors whose stall was completely destroyed, said she did not know whether she would relocate or how she would earn enough money to support her family.

She noted that she had incurred damages of about US$3,000.

Chhun Chhorn, the governor of Kampong Thom province, said “experts” had been assigned to investigate the site of the fire and to calculate the damage it had caused.

He said officials would also work with the vendors to devise a way for them to continue earning money in the short term.

“We will discuss with the vendors about setting up a private partnership for them to rebuild this market soon,” he said.

“But we do not know exactly how we will do this because we will need to study various market building plans before we make a decision,” Chhun Chhorn added.

He said that market vendors in particular should take special precautions to avoid fires during the dry season.

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