At least four people died and another injured in a blaze that broke out at 4.20am on June 29 in a house in the capital’s Daun Penh district’s Boeung Raing commune, police said.
Prum Yorn, director of the Phnom Penh department of Fire Prevention, Extinguishing and Rescue, told The Post that the fire was in a three-story apartment building that had a patty processing handicraft shop. After the fire was put out, police found the bodies of four victims who worked in the store.
“However, our team still has not identified the victims who died or the cause of this terrible fire,” he said.
According to Yorn, in addition to causing the deaths, the fire also gutted the building’s ground floor, destroying household items and vehicles, including two SUVs and seven motorcycles. But the fire did not spread to neighbouring properties.
It took more than an hour for the fire brigade to extinguish the blaze using 164 cubic metres of water.
He said that during the fire fighting operation, one firefighter from the Phnom Penh Fire department suffered minor injuries.
Boeung Raing commune police Bun Pros told The Post that according to the victims’ relatives, authorities have now identified the dead victims.
He said that three were residents of Kandal’s Leuk Daek district, and another was the resident of Prey Veng province’s Pea Reang district.
“The bodies of the four victims were removed by forensic experts. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined and police are continuing their investigation,” he said.
Local authorities said the apartment building belonged to 71-year-old Hok Pich Hoang. But The Post could not reach him for comment.
Hok Pich Hoeun, a brother of one of the victims identified as Pich Hoah, told The Post that he was cooperating with authorities and was discussing compensation for the victims’ families.
As of June 29, the death toll from fires increased to 14 people, including the latest four victims, and injured 31, according to director of the Ministry of Interior’s Department of Fire Prevention, Extinguishing and Rescue Neth Vantha.
He said that according to the report for the first half of 2021, there were more than 4,051 fires nationwide, damaging 323 houses and 85 stalls. The figure indicated a slight increase compared to the same period last year, but the number of houses damaged had doubled. Most fires were in Phnom Penh followed by Kandal and Stung Treng.