At least 43 motorbikes were destroyed by fire after an “electrical malfunction” sparked a blaze at a factory in the Manhattan Special Economic Zone in Svay Rieng province’s Bavet town on May 24.
Bavet deputy police chief Kem Dara said on May 25 that the motorbikes belonged to the workers of SHEICO (CAMBODIA) Co, Ltd. The fire started in a water pump belonging to the factory.
He said the fire spread from the pump to a nearby parking lot through the buildings wiring and consumed the motorbikes just after 1pm. No one was injured in the incident.
“Most of the motorbikes that were completely destroyed were brand new. Another 11 were partially consumed by the fire,” he said, adding that the garment workers had tried to douse the fire with water – in addition to using extinguishers – but that the flames were already out of control.
The factory contacted Bavet commune police station, but the fire had died out before the fire trucks arrived.
“I do not know how the factory intends to resolve this with the workers who lost their motorbikes, but the authorities are attempting to help them find a compromise,” said Dara.
According to lawyer Yong Phanit, the factory is responsible because the fire happened there.
“The workers used their personal property to serve the company. The factory must take responsibility for the loss because the fire happened onsite,” he said.
He said when property is destroyed during working hours, the responsibility for employee losses fell on the owners of the site. This is precisely why some companies buy insurance for their employees, he added.