A fire raged for more than four hours in a Kampong Speu garment factory yesterday, partially destroying the building.
New Best Global Textile company, based in Kaheng commune, in Samrong Tong district, was engulfed in flames at around 11:40am, and was only extinguished just before 4pm after fire fighters and military authorities pumped some 200,000 litres of water onto the blaze.
None of the 650 workers were killed or injured in the fire, having run from the building carrying sewing machines.
After questioning staff, Kaheng commune police chief Mean Chanthorn said that the fire was either caused by an electrical fault or due to sparks from a worker welding steel to repair the roof, which then set fire to clothing.
“We have not identified the root cause of the fire yet and do not know the cost of the damage; but according to the inspection at the site, we can say that 50 per cent has been damaged,” Chanthorn said.
Dany, 22, a worker who only gave her first name, said it was fortunate all the workers were on a lunch break when the fire started – if it happened while they were working, she said, many would have been killed.
“I do not know when the factory will open again, and I also do not know how the factory owner will solve the problem of our salaries after the factory and materials are burnt like this,” she said.
En Dy, the company’s general manager, declined to comment. “I am very busy now and I will speak about the problem when I have free time,” he said.
Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, urged the company to compensate the workers swiftly and according to the law.