A fire at a Stung Treng province warehouse, previously linked to timber tycoon Try Pheap, partially destroyed a timber stockpile housed there on Sunday.
According to Sy Nuon, the governor of Siem Pang district, where the incident occurred, seven fire trucks were required to douse the blaze, which he said started when wind blew embers from a pile of burning timber scraps towards the building.
He said Try Pheap’s company, long dogged by accusations of illegal logging, no longer used the site.
“The timber remaining, which was left by the former company, was on fire,” he said, adding that none of the wood was luxury grade and that the timber that had not burned had been taken by local villagers to build a school. “The company has been closed for a long time,” he added.
The site was inspected last year by an anti-illegal logging committee, led by military police chief Sao Sokha.
Reached yesterday, Stung Treng representative for rights group Adhoc Hou Sam Ol recalled that, at that time, the facility held some 1,000 cubic metres of timber, including luxury wood.
However, he said the expensive wood had likely already been removed, leaving only lower-grade varieties.
According to local outlet Fresh News, Try Pheap said he had nothing to do with the site. “I have stopped running the timber business for a long time, [so] there is no timber [of mine] being consumed by fire,” he said.