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Fire Razes City Block

Fire Razes City Block

A domestic dispute over the sale of a house led to a huge fire which destroyed more

than 100 local residences on May 10 in the Phnom Penh district of Srah Chak.

Witnesses whose houses and other belongings were lost in the early-morning blaze

said the fire was caused by a divorced couple who had decided to sell their house.

They said Say, the husband, was upset by a court ruling granting his wife the greater

share of the money earned from the sale, and set the wooden structure alight before

fleeing.

The fire victims attacked the slow response of the firefighters, saying they were

left by themselves to fight the blaze for 40 minutes before any help arrived.

"If they [firefighters] had arrived earlier, it wouldn't have come to this,"

said Sok Chea, as she searched through the ashes of her former home.

"The firemen said there was no running water," she said.

"I won't vote for them now because I have lost everything."

Some locals said the firefighters demanded five chi or two domlung of gold before

they would release water from their trucks.

"When they arrived they said they forgot the tube. This time they forgot the

tube, next time they will forget to dress before going to work," 20 year-old

Hong said.

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