Compensation Process Begins After Diesel Fire

Five victims of a diesel fuel delivery truck fire in Phnom Penh, who have filed complaints against the owner of a Prampi Makara district gas station owner, received compensation yesterday for their destroyed motorcycles and cars, according to police officials.

Nuth Samoeurn, the 49-year-old owner of the Veal Vang commune gas station where a Sokimex truck caught fire Sept 21 while pumping out diesel was charged last Friday with causing the ensuing blaze that destroyed six homes.

In the wake of the fire, 19 people filed $1,076,450 worth of claims.

Police officials said yesterday that the driver, who fled the scene, has still not been found.

“Representatives of the station paid…five victims first,” said Ev Sokpheng, chief of the district police’s penal bureau, yesterday. “The representatives are trying to find compromises with the other victims seeking money.”

According to Mr Sokpheng, the five victims received a total of $7,000 in compensation yesterday for the destruction of a car, two motorcycles and assorted property damages. Mr Sokpheng said that Ms Samoeurn’s husband would continue to actively negotiate with those who lost their homes and their businesses in the fire.

“I heard that the station owner is having construction workers evaluate the homes that were destroyed,” said Chea Then, a 52-year-old who has filed a complaint demanding $220,000 in compensation for the loss of his furniture business and house in the fire.

Mr Then said yesterday he did not know how he would support himself if he was not paid promptly.

Tri Vanna, who filed a complaint for $60,000 and the cost of rebuilding her apartment, said yesterday that he had not been invited to discuss compensation with Ms Samoeurn’s representatives yet. Mr Vanna lost a car, two motorcycles and his home to the fire.

“Now I have nothing to support my family and must stay at a relative’s home,” Mr Vanna said.

Heu Heng, general director of Sokimex, said yesterday that his company would work with their insurance company to pay for the damage caused by the fire. “We have not begun to pay compensation,” Mr Heng said. “We will let the owner of the gas station try to deal with the victims first.”


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