The bodies of a mother and daughter were found locked in an embrace after they were killed in a hotel fire in Phnom Penh at around 3:30am on Wednesday at the Phkar Chhouk Tep 2 Hotel and Restaurant in Phsar Doeum Kor commune, in the capital’s Tuol Kork district.
District police chief Sok Heng said on Wednesday that the victims, identified as Prum Tha, 56, and Prum Sokly, 18, worked as cleaners at the hotel.
“Our fire expert officials and [a municipal court prosecutor] examined the scene and confirmed that the victims are mother and daughter. They died hugging each other.
“After inhaling too much smoke, they must have lost consciousness and burned to death,” Heng said. He suggested that the fire was caused by an electrical malfunction at a staff facility in the hotel.
Many employees who were said to be at the staff facility, as well, managed to escape.
The remains of the victims were returned to their family on Wednesday in Kampot province’s Kraing Doung village, Samrong Krom commune in Banteay Meas district.
Phnom Penh municipal fire department director Prom Yorn said after receiving the call, 15 fire trucks including one from a private company were dispatched to the scene. The fire was brought under control after 30 minutes.
“After they put out the fire, they searched the staff room and found the charred remains of the mother and daughter,” he said, adding that the staff room was on the 7th floor of the hotel.
Neth Vantha, the director of the Fire Prevention Department at the Ministry of Interior, said there had been 717 fire incidents this year, noting an increase of 183 cases compared to the same period last year.
Of the 717 incidents, there were 17 victims who died while 97 others were injured. Another 576 homes and 372 stalls were damaged.
“The fires mostly occurred in Phnom Penh, Kandal and Siem Reap provinces,” he said.
Vantha said 40.2 per cent of the fires were caused by electrical malfunction, 30.1 by unattended stoves, incense and candlelight while the remaining 29.7 per cent remained under investigation.