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Capital fire cost ‘in the millions’

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People survey the aftermath of a fire in Tuol Kork’s Phsar Deum Kor commune. Four homes and three businesses were seriously damaged in the blaze. Heng Chivoan

Capital fire cost ‘in the millions’

At least four homes and three businesses in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork were seriously damaged in a fire near the district’s Mondial Centre that took place at 3:30am on Thursday.

Neth Vantha, director of the Fire Prevention Department at the Ministry of Interior, told The Post that authorities did not know what caused the blaze or where it started. The cost of the damage was estimated to be in the millions of dollars.

This latest blaze comes just days after a fire at an Indian restaurant in the capital’s Daun Penh district on Tuesday morning that left a 17-year-old girl dead and four others injured.

“Our technical officers will continue to cooperate with the local authorities to inspect the scene to find the cause of this fire in order to proceed with the case in accordance with legal procedures,” Vantha said.

Witnesses at the scene told The Post that the fire started in a car showroom on Sreet 219 in Tuol Kork’s Phsar Deum Kor commune, and engulfed two neighbouring vehicle spare parts businesses before spreading to four houses.

While clearing up the remains of her belongings, Lana, a resident of one the damaged houses, said: “I don’t know what caused it, but I saw the fire starting from the car warehouse.”

A distraught Lana, 45, said she had not yet considered filing a complaint for compensation for the damage to her property.

“Just now my family I and are busy clearing up our belongings. We will estimate the damage later,” she said.

Hy Phengla, the owner of one of the spare parts businesses almost destroyed by the fire, told The Post that after being told of the fire at 3:30am, he rushed to inspect the damage to his property.

He said: “I don’t know where the fire started from, but when I arrived at my warehouse, the fire had not yet hit my business. I saw the fire coming from behind another warehouse, and then it grew stronger and stronger and spread to my warehouse.”

Phengla said fire engines then arrived to put out the fire, but fuelled by car seats, tyres and oil, the blaze grew before firefighters could control it.

Som Chantha, the owner of the destroyed car dealership where the fire was believed to have started, said the cause was not yet known, but that staff on the premises said it may have started from an electrical fault.

“The investigation has not been completed yet, so we cannot make any conclusions,” said Prum Yorn, the chief of the Phnom Penh Fire Department.

Chantha said four cars were destroyed completely and two others seriously damaged.

According to the Phnom Penh Fire Department, 31 fire engines were used in tackling the blaze, which took five hours and 851 cubic metres of water to extinguish.

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