Woman Dies in Fire at House Storing Gasoline Bottles

A 20-year-old woman died when a fire broke out in her family’s home in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district yesterday, district officials said.

The victim, Doeu Lida—who was upstairs when the fire broke out below in her family’s shop, which sells gasoline—could not escape the flames, said Kuch Chamroeun, Meanchey district governor.

“I heard my niece call for help, but I could not help in time…. The fire was very fast and destroyed the house in about 10 minutes,” said Chhoeun Sakim, Ms Lida’s uncle.

Liv Kim An, 32, a neighbor, said he had called the fire department several times but no one picked up the phone. Net Vantha, chief of the municipal fire department, said that the fire had spread so quickly because the shop contained bottles of gasoline. Mr Vantha denied the claim that calls to the fire department went unanswered.

“It’s not true; I answered the call myself,” he said. Mr Vantha admitted the firefighters “lost their way” for a few minutes en route to the scene and also experienced technical difficulties with the water cannons.

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