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Market blaze in Poipet injures three vendors

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Flames engulf portions of Poipet’s Rong Kloeun market on Saturday after an alleged electrical malfunction. Photo supplied

Market blaze in Poipet injures three vendors

At least three people were injured and 12 stores completely destroyed in a fire on Saturday at Banteay Meanchey province’s Rong Kloeun market near the Thai border.

Pou Buntha, 56, a clothing vendor at the market said the blaze which began around 6:30pm razed a dozen shops that sold toys, shoes and bedding.

“Three Cambodian sellers were injured in the fire. A man was badly injured on his legs while he was trying to escape from his store. Another two women lost consciousness due to smoke inhalation,” he said.

The victims were all warded in Thai hospitals.

Sem Makara, the deputy chief of immigration police at the Poipet border checkpoint to Thailand, said Thai news reports claimed the fire started because of an electrical malfunction.

“The fire was extinguished and under control when Thai authorities used more than 10 fire engines and one scavenger. Cambodian authorities sent two fire engines to assist in putting out the fire,” he said.

Buntha said 80 per cent of the store owners in the market are Cambodians.

Almost every year fire breaks out at the market and destroys millions of baht worth of property, he said. He claimed that shop owners were rarely compensated by the market authorities.

The number of shops lost in the latest fire could not be ascertained.

The National Police said some Cambodians decided to stop selling their goods at the market because of the repeated blazes.

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