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Fire destroys tonnes of rice at mill

Authorities in Kampong Speu province respond to a fire that broke out in a rice factory kiln early yesterday morning. GRK
Authorities in Kampong Speu province respond to a fire that broke out in a rice factory kiln early yesterday morning. GRK

Fire destroys tonnes of rice at mill

A rice mill kiln that caught fire just after midnight in Kampong Speu province saw 8 tonnes of rice destroyed overnight and $100,000 worth of damage, police and the factory owner said yesterday.

Odong district police chief Khem Samun said the kiln – used for drying rice that is then exported overseas – went up in flames at about 12:20am yesterday at the Golden Rice company premises in Ksem Ksan commune because the kiln temperature was simply too hot.

Samun said while 80 percent of the 40 tonnes of rice at the facility was salvaged, about 12 tonnes of that, or 30 percent, was exposed to the intense heat, and was slightly damaged as a result, making it fit only for animals. One-fifth of the rice grains were burned to a crisp.

“But the fire did not cause damage to the factory or hurt anyone,” Samun said. Kampong Speu provincial deputy police chief Sek Heng, who oversees the fire department, said five fire-fighting vehicles carrying 192,000 litres of water were dispatched to combat the flames.

“We cut into the metal wall of the factory to direct the water cannon at the kiln,” Heng said. “We also helped the workers transport the rice from the kiln. ”Heng added that the firefighters were working for 10 hours straight to extinguish the flames and clean up the mess.

Sok Hach, who owns the factory, said yesterday that the damage caused by the fire totalled more than $100,000. He said it was fortunate the fire did not spread to the other nine kilns in the facility.

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