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People gather around a police investigation earlier this week where a woman died after being caught in a forest fire. National Police
People gather around a police investigation earlier this week where a woman died after being caught in a forest fire. National Police

Pailin blaze claims longan farmer’s life

A forest fire in Pailin province claimed the life of a woman who tried to protect her longan plantation on Sunday.

According to Chor Manh, Boyakha commune police chief, the woman’s body was not found by her husband until Monday morning.

The death of the victim, Neb Leang, 35, was initially treated as a potential murder, for which her husband, a soldier, was interrogated. But forensic experts found the woman died of suffocation from smoke inhalation and heat exposure.

“The experts concluded that the woman died of suffocation and was not murdered, since the deceased woman was lying with her chest on the ground and there were not many burns on her limbs. The ash covered nearly the whole body,” Manh said.

Chhun Chhert, acting Pailin police chief, said surrounding corn and longan plantations were razed by the flames.

The victim was a chef with the military’s 507 Division, and she and her husband, Chhi Thy, 36, were fighting the fire with wooden sticks to prevent it destroying their longan plantation.

Thy said that afterwards he went home to feed the pigs and she remained to ensure the fire would not flare up.

“When I arrived home at night, I did not see my wife and I did not find my wife immediately since I was drunk.

On Monday morning I and other villagers went to the site and found my wife’s body,” Thy said yesterday.

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