Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Blaze at market prompts concern among vendors

Blaze at market prompts concern among vendors

Ruins of a fire that destroyed 14 stalls in Phnom Penh’s Kandal Market yesterday.
Ruins of a fire that destroyed 14 stalls in Phnom Penh’s Kandal Market yesterday. Sahiba Chawdhary

Blaze at market prompts concern among vendors

At least 14 market stalls were completely destroyed and three other stalls damaged during a fire at Kandal Market in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district early yesterday morning, the chief of the Phnom Penh Fire Department said yesterday.

Chief Prum Yorn said the fire, likely caused by an electrical malfunction, broke out in stall number 49 in Kandal Market at around 4:15am yesterday, spreading through the structure before it was put out by 18 municipal police fire trucks and two military police fire trucks.

“The fire could be from an electric fault. It destroyed 14 stalls and damaged three. Luckily not all stalls were destroyed because our fire trucks came on time and we managed to stop the fire by 5am,” he said.

Seng Sopheavy, market vendor, said, “When I heard about the fire, I came early to the market to move the goods from the stall. But my family was in a panic as we live far away from the market.”

Luckily, the fire was put out before Sopheavy’s stall suffered any damage. Kandal Market director Chab Dyna said: “Thanks to the vendors’ and the authorities’ quick response, the fire was stopped within an hour and did not spread to so many other stalls.”

Rumours began to circulate yesterday that the fire was deliberately started to win support for plans to redevelop the market.

The government had initially proposed redevelopment plans for Kandal Market as early as 2009, but the renovation was scrapped then due to protests.

It was put on hold again in May last year due to further protests over fears of high rental costs by roughly 400 vendors. Yorn, meanwhile, denied the rumours, admonishing vendors not to “accuse the authorities ... the government is trying to solve the market’s problems”.

Pa Socheatvong, Phnom Penh city governor, met with the vendors at Kandal Market yesterday morning, urging them to rebuild their stalls and to support the previously shelved redevelopment plans.

“The authorities had urged vendors to support the building of a new market, but the project was stopped because of the protests of the vendors. So please join us in preparing a well-organised market,” he said.

Reached yesterday, Socheatvong said no renovation would take place as long as vendors opposed it, but acknowledged that if it did go ahead, the new rates would be “very high”.

Market director Dyna offered a similar take on the plans. “The authorities want to redevelop the market into a new one . . . but the stall prices will rise too. [But] the project will not continue unless vendors agree.”

MOST VIEWED

  • WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia said that Cambodia has reached a new phase of the pandemic with “decreasing case numbers, high vaccination coverage and a more transmissible circulating variant threatening a hidden surge”. In a press release on September 6, the WHO said that

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • School reopening ‘offers model for other sectors’

    World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said school reopening process should be used as a role model for reopening other sectors currently mothballed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Li strongly supports the government’s decision to reopen schools, saying it is a decision

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.

  • Covid jab drive for 6-11 age group to begin Sept 17

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has permitted Covid-19 vaccinations for over 1.8 million children aged 6-11 across the country from September 17 in order for them to return to school after a long hiatus. Hun Sen also hinted that vaccinations for the 3-6 age group will follow in