THREE people were injured and three houses damaged when a fire erupted in Siem Reap’s Prasat Bakong district, and the owner of a fuel depot believed to be responsible for the blaze is on the run, officials said.
District governor Phou Sam Ath said the fire started at roughly 11:50pm on Tuesday night, and was caused by a petrol explosion at the depot.
“The cause is not completely clear yet, but the fire started from the shop, which was selling gas anarchically, and it spread to other houses selling groceries,” he said. “The gas exploded and immediately caught fire.”
He said the three injured people were working at the depot at the time, but that their whereabouts were unknown yesterday.
District police chief Men Chantha said no arrests had been made, but that investigations were ongoing.
“We are preparing a document about the accident for the court,” he said. “Whether we arrest someone or not depends on the court.”
He said the fire began when shop staff began pumping petrol on Tuesday night.
“The fire broke out when a worker was pumping gasoline from a 200-litre container to a 10,000-litre container, which was buried underground,” he said. He did not elaborate on how the gasoline was ignited.
Derm Penh, who lives near the depot and whose home was damaged, said he had written a complaint letter to police asking that the depot owner pay compensation.
A police report said more than 64 cases of beer, seven cases of wine, 30 litres of white wine, 13 cases of soft drinks, 50 kilogrammes of rice and sundry spare motorbike parts were destroyed in the depot.