Fire Engulfs Popular Island Restaurant; No Injuries

A foreign-owned restaurant and bar on Koh Rong island went up in flames on Sunday afternoon due to a kitchen fire, causing extensive damage before about 50 locals managed to put it out, according to local business owners.

Nobody was injured in the fire at Buffalo Restaurant, according to Preah Sihanouk provincial police chief Chuon Narin.

A fire consumes Buffalo Restaurant on Koh Rong island on Sunday afternoon, in a photograph shared widely on Facebook.
A fire consumes Buffalo Restaurant on Koh Rong island on Sunday afternoon, in a photograph shared widely on Facebook.

The owner of the nearby Coconut Beach Bungalow, who gave his name only as Robbie, said the blaze started at around 4 p.m. when a fire from the restaurant’s wood-fueled pizza oven reached the thatched roof and accelerated when the flames ignited a gas canister.

He estimated the damage at $100,000. The Turkish owner of Buffalo Restaurant could not be reached on Sunday.

Steve Jolly, an Australian who owns the nearby Koh Rong Island Boys guesthouse, said there was a fire at his establishment around two years ago.

“It is really difficult when something like this happens, as there is no fire truck on the island—not to mention trained firefighters—and accessibility is really limited,” he said.

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