A devastating fire at White Horse Market in Kep province’s O’Krasar commune on the evening of July 19 destroyed 121 stalls and caused more than $1 million in damages, but no one was injured or killed in the incident.
Commune chief Kouy Cheng Kuong told The Post on July 20 that strong winds blew the market’s roof off then there was an explosion caused by electrical fault which ignited the fire. The fire was eventually extinguished after 11pm.
“According to information collected from vendors, the amount of damage caused by the fire is more than $1 million,” Cheng Kuong said.
On July 20, vendors requested relevant authorities to intervene and urge the market owners to expedite reconstruction. They also asked for the electrical system to be fixed and that a location be provided for them to conduct business while the new market is built.
Nuon Chanthoeun, 36, owner of two stalls that sold clothes, told The Post that all of her $20,000 in capital was invested in her products which were destroyed by the fire. “At the moment I have nothing left, and I do not know who to ask for compensation because the authorities say the fire was caused by an electrical fault.”
Nuon Srey Diep, a vendor that had six stalls selling instant milk powder and children’s items, told The Post that vendors could not retrieve their goods from the fire as it happened at night. The market closed at 5pm and the market owner locked the gates.
Provincial governor Som Piseth told The Post that the provincial administration will urge the owner to build a new market as soon as possible.
“The owner should not use automatic gates at the market entrance, as it could be as risky as it is now,” he said.
Piseth said eight fire trucks and 400 cubic metres of water were used to extinguish the blaze.
“The market uses automatic gates, once it was on fire; all systems were cut off and the gates could not be opened, leading to difficulties for fire fighters,” he said.