Seven people were killed and two others injured after a fire burned their wooden house to the ground early yesterday morning in Mondulkiri province’s Sen Monorom town, police said.
Prel Ramoun, the Sen Monorom police chief, said the victims belonged to the Phnoung ethnic minority and were a family of parents, children and cousins.
Earlier on Wednesday night, the family had dinner and drank several jars of wine, said Ramoun, noting some family members were smoking, and that the family kept a 30-litre tank of gasoline, wood oil and a motorbike in their home.
Ramoun added that the blaze was likely started by a carelessly discarded cigarette butt.
“The fire probably started at the tank of gasoline, spread to the wood oil and then the home,” he said.
Four of the dead were between the ages of two and eight.
Survivors Chi Viyoeul, 34, and Mohem Pluen, 45, were outside when the explosion occurred, and were badly burned, but are being helped by the provincial Red Cross, said Provincial governor, Chan Yoeun.
“This is the first time so many people have died in a fire in my province,” he said.