Families of Victims Sue Club Owner Over Deadly Fire

The families of six people who died because of a Phnom Penh nightclub fire earlier this month submitted a lawsuit Tuesday at the municipal court to hold the club owner responsible after failing to reach an out-of-court settlement, according to police.

When a smoke machine at the Key Club in Meanchey District short-circuited and ignited on September 7, the resulting fire killed two waitresses and three teenage patrons, and a security guard who was hospitalized died from his burns days later.

At the time, the court said it would not prosecute the club owner, Phon Bunthoeun, 36, if he could reach settlements with the families and that the fire was no one’s fault.

According to deputy district police chief Meng Vemeandara, who said he submitted the lawsuit on the behalf of the families, a representative of Mr. Bunthoeun had offered each of them $2,000 compensation, short of their demands for $2,500 to $3,500.

“I tried to compromise between the victims’ families and the proxy of the club, but they failed to reach an agreement,” Mr. Vemeandara said.

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