An explosion at the Leda Garment Factory in Phnom Penh Tuesday evening destroyed more than 500 pieces of clothing but did not cause any injuries, officials said Wednesday.
It is unclear whether the explosion was caused intentionally or by problems with electrical wiring, authorities said.
Louk Lorn, police chief of Chamkarmon district, said the version of events given by the Chinese factory owners differed from what was said by employees and neighbors. “The owners said it was a problem with the electrical wiring, but workers and neighbors said it was a bomb or TNT,” he said.
Workers said business disputes between the previous and current owners of the factory were the reason for the blast.
Factory owners declined to comment on the explosion.
Workers said the clothing inspectors usually work overtime at night until 9 pm in the factory’s basement, where the explosion occurred at 8:30 pm.
However, workers said on Tuesday inspectors were told not to work overtime, so the only employees in the building at the time of the explosion were the sewers, on the second floor.
“I thought I would die because a fire broke out,” said Leda employee Heng Lili. “A few minutes later, we heard that the clothes were on fire. We all helped to extinguish it by throwing water on it.”
Before the explosion occurred, neighbors heard a motorbike horn being pressed many times. When the horn stopped beeping, the blast went off.
“I didn’t know where to go when the explosion occurred,” said Bun Nim, a Leda employee. “I could not find my way downstairs because I was so terrified.”
Police are still investigating.