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Businesses regroup after fire

Businesses regroup after fire

02a fire sihanouk ville
Security guards chat yesterday in front of the remnants of a business destroyed during Sunday’s blaze in Sihanoukville. Photo Supplied

A day after a blaze ripped through Sihanoukville’s Serendipity Road – one of the tourist town’s  busiest streets – business owners affected by the fire were picking up the pieces.

“Everything is black; it’s just charcoal,” said Craig Warren of Mick and Craig’s, a restaurant and guesthouse that saw the restaurant half of his business go up in flames on Sunday afternoon.

“We’re just trying to put a smile on things at the moment,” Warren added. “We’re accessing the situation and will be talking to our landlord to see if we can work something out.”

Although they intended to clean-up and reopen, none of the businesses contacted by the Post said they had any insurance to cover the damage.

Nuria Zoco of Zoco Clothes said affected business-owners were interviewed by the police yesterday but were still in shock.

No one was injured in the fire, and police are still investigating its cause.

Zoco said: “For sure we will reopen again, but with the Khmer New Year coming, it’s hard to actually get someone to come and repair the damage.”

She added that with the water shortage Sihanoukville was currently facing, none remained to help with the clean-up anyway.

“This is a massive problem right now. If there was water, the fire probably would not have taken down that many buildings,” said Zoco.

The fire started just before noon on Sunday and raged for more than two hours. But because of the water shortage, firefighters arrived on site only to find the hydrants dry.

While they were waiting for the mains to be turned on, the fire spread. In addition to Mick and Craig’s and Zoco Clothes, the fire razed the Monkey Republic guesthouse and restaurant, where the fire is suspected to have begun, a dive shop and a laundromat.

Prak Prakod, director of provincial water supply authority (WSA), said the current water shortage was unprecedented.

He added that the WSA was in talks with ANCO Brothers – a company that supplies water to some provinces – to make up the shortfall until the wet season.

Perhaps a bit too late, he promised: “Next month, we will have a good water supply.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KHOUTH SOPHAK CHAKRYA

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