A fire destroyed four stores along Siem Reap town’s River Road yesterday when a canister at a bottled petrol shop exploded as the shopkeeper was cooking lunch, setting off a chain reaction, officials said.
Meas Sang, director of the provincial fire department, said that the blaze began just before noon, sending fire trucks and police units rushing to the scene.
“The fire started when the owner of a petrol store was cooking rice with petrol, and then the petrol bottle exploded and caused the fire to spread to other petrol bottles, a big petrol tank, electrical cables along the road and nearby stores, such as a grocery store, a phone shop and a gasoline store,” he said.
No one was injured, but it took the crews of four fire engines 30 minutes to control the blaze, he said.
An eyewitness, who asked not to be named, said the fire spread rapidly.
“When I was having lunch in my house, I heard a sound like a bomb and I came out to see what was happening. A petrol tank exploded and it was only a few seconds before the fire had already spread to nearby stores,” she said.