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Restaurant fire kills teen

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A bodybag is seen inside an ambulance after a fire at a Phnom Penh restaurant on Tuesday. Pann Rachana

Restaurant fire kills teen

At least one person died and four others were injured in a fire at an Indian restaurant in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district on Tuesday morning.

The victim was identified as In Srey Mao, 17, who worked in the Sher-E-Punjab restaurant’s laundry, where the blaze started.

“Her body was found in the mezzanine room of the restaurant at around 1:30pm, after the fire started at 11:30am,” Phsar Kandal 1 commune councillor Sok Rei said.

She was taken to hospital but died on the way.

“Her body was sent to make the funeral at the Tuol Sangke pagoda by her relatives,” Rei added.

Four other people, including an Indian man, suffered burns.

Phnom Penh Fire Department Deputy Chief Om Chantha said firefighters attended the scene to extinguish a fire at 9:30am and left at 10:45am believing the flames had been put out.

“We thought the fire was out, but around an hour later the local authority called us back saying the fire started from the wall of the restaurant building,” he said, attributing the cause of the blaze to a gas explosion.

Restaurant owner Rajkumar Bhujel said did not know what caused the blaze.

However, Fire Department Deputy Chief Chantha said four gas tanks were found at the site, two of them showing signs of having exploded, while the two others appeared undamaged.

“We do not yet know clearly about how much of the property was damaged by the fire, but the ground floor of the restaurant is about 60 percent damaged,” he added.

One of the victims, Ul Eang, 37, who supplied the restaurant with vegetables, said he was sitting in the restaurant when he heard a gas bottle explode in a back room. He received burns to his face.

“Two of the workers were seriously injured,” he said. “They were all hit by the flames and were immediately sent to the hospital. An Indian guy is slightly worse than me.”

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