The death toll from a gas explosion that rocked central Phnom Penh on Saturday has risen to four, the municipal fire department said on Sunday.
Department director Prom Yorn said five other people also sustained injuries in the fire which destroyed two houses and damaged another in Daun Penh district’s Boeung Raing commune.
Yorn said the dead included two of the gas cylinder shop owner’s children – Lam Seng Hav, 27, and Lam Kim Lang, eight, – and two workers, Mao Sinat, 22, and Mon Makara, 18.
The injured include shop owner Prak Lamhong, 69, his wife Ly Soeurng, 49, their two daughters Lam Seng Tay, 19, and Lam Kimchou, 13. Lamhong’s 32-year-old brother Prak Sengkea was also hurt in the blaze.
Citing Lamhong’s accounts, Yorn said the fire started from a worker welding a leaking gas cylinder that exploded and spread flames to more gas cylinders.
“Bodies were charred and found by our firefighters under rubble and the iron frames of the building. The bodies were sent to the Stung Meanchey pagoda for final rites while the injured were admitted to hospital,” he said.
In expressing his condolences, Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng contributed some money towards the funeral, which was organised by the family at the pagoda on Sunday morning.
The fire also damaged some electrical cables of the state-run Electricity du Cambodge (EdC).
As of Sunday, neither the EdC nor Lamhong’s neighbours whose two houses were damaged by the fire had filed a complaint for compensation.
According to a Ministry of Interior report, fires have killed 11 people, damaged 519 houses and injured 28 in the first six months of the year.
The report attributed two main factors to the fires – electric faults (41 per cent) and negligence (39 per cent). The remaining 20 per cent are under investigation.