A massive fire tore through the Battambang Central Market (Phsar Nath) on Sunday night, damaging at least 33 stalls and severely affecting 44 more.
An electrical failure was attributed to the fire, which quickly spread to grocery stores and stalls selling dishes and clothes. No one was injured, provincial governor Pheng Sethy said.
The authorities are working to clean up the market, which is a heritage site. Sethy said the extent of the damage has not yet been assessed.
“The immediate task now is to clean up the market and restore the environment. We have worked to dismantle and transport the burnt waste from the market and establish security to prevent theft, which would lead to more losses for vendors,” he said.
Provincial deputy governor Soeum Bunrith, who has been assigned to estimate the impact of the fire, told The Post a joint commission has decided to remove all the stores located around the entrance of the market to restore the environment.
“The damaged goods have caused a bad smell, affecting the environment and public health, which needs to be cleaned immediately,” he said.
The commission urged the State-run energy utility to reconnect the electricity network in accordance with technical standards because in the past, the management of the electricity network in the market was privately owned.
The commission also called on the Battambang Water Supply Authority to study and reorganise the water supply network and set up fire hydrants in and around the market to prevent fires.
“Our group has cooperated with the Department of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction and the Department of Culture and Fine Arts to study and assess the impact on the quality of construction of this market. This is in order to renovate in accordance with technical standards and style of French heritage buildings,” Bunrith said.
The market was built in 1937 and widely considered a historical building.
Bunrith said the market has 551 stalls and 210 other small sales locations. Firefighters used more than 40 trucks of water on the blaze, which reignited twice. The fire, which started around 5:30pm was finally extinguished at 3:30am.