A commune chief and business owner in Battambang province’s Mong Russey district is on the brink of bankruptcy after his rice mill was destroyed in a fire yesterday morning.
District police chief Kith Heang said the rice mill, owned by Puy Savorn, caught fire about 3am and after investigation it was determined that the blaze began when a spark from an engine ignited a pile of rice husk.
“There was a fire on Wednesday night, but the owner thought he had extinguished it. In the early morning [on Thursday] the fire started again and could not be controlled,” the police chief said.
He confirmed that the mill, which was 16 by 20 metres, was the only building damaged.
Puy Savorn, Russey Kraing commune chief and owner of the mill, said he lost about 50 tonnes of rice, five tonnes of milled rice and six tonnes of rice husks to the fire.
“In total, I lost about US$100,000 and owe villagers about $17,500 because I bought the rice in a joint purchase with them and stored it at the warehouse, but it was burned,” said the mill owner, who has owned the mill since 1984.
“I am facing bankruptcy. I could borrow money from the bank to run the business again, but it is unlikely. I have nothing left but ash and dust,” he said.