Fire at Sampov Loun Market Causes $1 Million in Damage

A Sampov Loun market fire Wednesday in Battambang’s Sam­pov Loun district close to the Cam­bodian-Thai border caused $1 million in damages, the district governor said Thursday.

All 105 stalls inside Sampov Loun market, which stood about 1,500 meters from the Sampov Loun border checkpoint, were completely destroyed by the fire. It started from an electrical short in a clothes stall, District Gover­nor Chum Sib said by telephone.

The fire started at 10:10 pm and burned till 11:30 pm, and three Thai fire trucks helped save villagers’ homes around the market, Mr Chum Sib said.

The market was built in 1997 after Khmer Rouge soldiers in the area surrendered in 1996. It be­came a trading point for Thai and Cambodian goods. “It was good for our people in the town, but now it has become ash,” said So Phy, a villager who settled in Sampov Loun town in 1997.

Police investigators confirmed Thursday that the fire was started by a short circuit, saying that vendors had connected the electricity from stall to stall in an unsafe manner.

“The fire sparked and spread very fast in the market and our security guard with two men couldn’t put the fire out even though they used extinguishers,” said Keang Sothy, deputy district police chief.

“We are very sorry that our local authority had no fire truck to help them, because it was far away from our Battambang town,” Deputy Provincial Gover­nor Ouk Vong said by telephone.

Sampov Loun District Gover­nor Chum Sib said Thursday that one vil­lager was burned severely when trying to retrieve goods from a stall after the fire started.

“We give thanks to the Thai fire trucks that helped our villagers protect homes around the market,” he said.


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