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Market fire victims seek compensation

The more than 100 families left homeless after their homes were gutted by a massive fire in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Sangke commune last week are demanding the government step in and order compensation from the landlord blamed for the blaze.

Commune authorites last week claimed the conflagration, which ripped through the commune on July 23, was caused by an explosion of a kitchen propane tank in a rental house owned by local landlord Tea Vannara.

Resident Kim Sreypov told the Post the victims of the inferno were incensed that Vannara had not taken responsibility for the damage caused to homes and businesses. “We need compensation,” he said.

But acting Tuol Sangke commune chief Ouk Khemara said he had sent the victims’ complaint to Russey Keo district hall. “It is somewhat complicated to carry out the solution of this case, so I sent it to the district hall to tackle further,” he said.

A total of 57 homes and 24 market stalls were completely destroyed by the inferno, with a further 16 homes damaged and 139 families left homeless.

According to a statement released on Tuesday by City Hall, while firefighters “did their best in rescuing and preventing fire to spread”, the incident required further investigation, particularly into fire-extinguishing techniques and the time it took for fire trucks to arrive on scene.

Commander of the Russey Keo military police told the Post yesterday that although no residents had been injured in the fire, his deputy commander, Lonh Kosal, had suffered lung complications after inhaling smoke and ash, and was in critical condition at a Ho Chi Minh City hospital.

To contact the reporter on this story: Khouth Sophak Chakrya at



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