Two Fires Destroy More Than 30 Homes in Phnom Penh

A fire gutted 11 apartments in central Phnom Penh early on Wednesday morning, while a separate blaze destroyed more than 20 shacks along the railroad tracks in Tuol Kok district on Tuesday afternoon, according to officials, who reported no deaths or injuries.

On Wednesday’s fire in Chamkar Mon district’s Boeng Keng Kang II commune started shortly after 1 a.m. and was extinguished about 40 minutes later by about 20 fire trucks, said Prum Yort, chief of the municipal fire department.

A woman looks at the remains of her Phnom Penh home, which was destroyed in a fire on Tuesday afternoon. Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily
A woman looks at the remains of her Phnom Penh home, which was destroyed in a fire on Tuesday afternoon. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

“We are still not clear on the exact cause, but the locals say it was an electrical fire,” he said.

Separately, parts of a shanty town in Tuol Kok’s Boeng Kak I commune were razed when a fire tore through the area at about 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Mr. Yort said.

“We used 15 fire trucks to extinguish the fire and we put it out completely by about 5:10 p.m.,” he said, adding that firefighters would have dealt with it sooner but were held up by traffic jams. Once they ar­rived, he said they had difficulty getting close to the homes and preventing residents from grabbing the fire hoses.

“We could not have intervened any sooner,” he said.

Locals say the fire started at 4 p.m., and that the fire trucks did not show up until 4:30 p.m.

“All of my property was lost to the fire,” said Doem Thea, 49, looking back at her charred dwelling on Wednesday afternoon as her neighbors picked through the rubble and began erecting tarps to sleep under.

“I have only the clothes you can see on my body,” she said, estimating that she lost $4,000 worth of property.

Ten people have died in 120 fires in Phnom Penh so far this year, according to Mr. Yort, compared to six deaths in 86 fires in 2014.

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