A woman in Kratie province suffered severe burns and her husband was also injured after he accidentally set spilt petrol alight during a domestic argument on Sunday afternoon in Snuol district’s Sre Cha commune.
Sre Cha commune police chief Uch Sophanna said on Monday that the 38-year-old man had been drinking alcohol with friends when his 33-year-old wife asked him to stop doing so and instead collect resin from nearby trees, but he refused and became angry.
He then grabbed a chainsaw, started it and attempted to cut through one of his home’s pillars, Sophanna said.
The man’s wife, he said, tried to stop him and a scuffle ensued during which a container with five litres of gasoline fell to the ground, spilling its contents.
The husband then accidentally lit the petrol with a cigarette lighter, Sophanna said, causing his wife’s clothes to catch fire.
The man tried to help her by picking her up and placing her in a large water pot, but that failed to extinguish the flames.
He then took her out of the pot, laid her on the ground and finally managed to put out the fire, but by this time she had been seriously burnt over her entire body, with her husband also sustaining less severe burns.
The woman was then rushed to the Kratie Provincial Hospital.
“The wife was seriously injured and is currently receiving treatment. If she recovers, it’s possible she will be permanently disabled,” Sophanna said, adding that the couple has three children aged between two and eight.
Snuol district police chief Chan Sok Kim said the husband suffered burns to his arms and legs and was also hospitalised.
Kim said he considered the case to be a crime committed by the husband, but said the police had not yet taken legal action as he was also receiving medical care.
“We think it’s a case of domestic violence, but since both of them were injured, we sent them to the hospital first and will take action later. But my police officers are guarding him in case he tries to escape,” he said.