Five stores selling electronic equipment and electrical appliances in Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet town were completely destroyed by fire on the morning of February 13, local authorities said.

Poipet town governor Keat Hul told The Post that police forces arrived at the scene in O'Chrou village of Poipet commune immediately to intervene after receiving reports from villagers about a fire in the stores.

“This fire spread rapidly as the stores were flat-style and decorated with flammable materials. However, no one was killed or injured in the fire,” he said, adding that the police were still investigating the cause of the fire.

Chi Soviet, 41, owner of NTC Computer Centre Poipet, told The Post that one of his three stores was completely destroyed by the fire. However, more than 60 per cent of his inventory and all of his family members and employees were taken to safety before it spread.

“I don’t know why the fire started or if it was from other shops. But I know that it spread to my shop around 6:30am because it gave me and my family members a headache with shortness of breath and we smelled smoke from flames at the other shops before it spread to my shop,” he said.

Saray Ty, owner of Ty Srey Pov, a shop selling electronics such as refrigerators, televisions and other appliances, told The Post that his shop was also partially damaged by the fire.

“I did not see the fire with my own eyes because I was visiting relatives in Phnom Penh. My mother who stayed in the store told me via a phone call this morning that a fire was spreading to our shop,” he said.

He said he would check the extent of the damage before seeking compensatory payment for the damage from whoever was responsible.

Poipet town police chief Prum Piseth told The Post that at this time, the firefighters were still investigating the case and questioning the owner of each business selling electronic equipment and electrical equipment and other villagers nearby to determine the cause of the fire.

“Our police forces cannot yet conclude this case or determine the cause, so we are continuing to investigate it and gather more information surrounding the fire,” he said.

He noted that over 10 fire engines had been sent to put out the fire, which took over two hours. The operation also involved firefighters from the Thai side of the border.