Fire burns Koh Rong island resort

2020-12-17 15:09:39

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea and Tith Kongnov / Khmer Times 

 A popular resort owned by a Cambodian businessman in Preah Sihanouk province’s Koh Rong Island burned down in the early hours of yesterday.

Lieutenant Colonel Phun Saroeun, deputy chief of the provincial Fire Prevention and Rescue Police office, said yesterday that he suspects the fires were caused by an explosion due to faulty electrical wires. The fire occurred at about 3.30am yesterday morning at Sok San Resort located in Sok San village, in Koh Rong commune, on Koh Rong Island.

Lt Col Saroeun said that the resort did not have many national or foreign tourists staying due to the pandemic.

He said that according to the police investigation as well as witness statements, the fire started in a warehouse and spread through part of the resort as well as nearby properties.

He added that there were about 15 guests staying at the resort but they all managed to flee from the fire.

“According to the police’s preliminary investigation, the fire was caused from an explosion of electrical wires inside the resort’s warehouse,” Lt Col Saroeun told Khmer Times yesterday.

“The fires then started burning the resort and destroyed all of the buildings,” he said. “But no one was hurt because they managed to flee when the fires started.”

He added that due to strong winds it took about 100 policemen and 2 water trucks to put out the blaze. They were fighting the fire until 7am yesterday morning.

Captain Nuon Sopheak, deputy chief of Koh Rong commune police, said that according to the owner of resort, the fires also destroyed a car, five speedboats and other items valued at a total of $200,000.

He said that police are investigating in order to make sure if it was caused by the electric cables or if someone did it on purpose like the victim said.

Nuon Bunthol, the governor of Koh Rong Island, could not be reached for comment.

In unrelated news, 40 market vendors from Thom market in Battambang City, where there was a fire on August 30, have now been handed back their market stalls by the authorities after 90 percent have been repaired.

Soeum Bunrith, deputy governor of Battambang province, said that Nguon Rattanak provincial governor in speeding up the repairs to help families.

“So far, about 90 percent of the stalls have been repaired, leaving only a few upstairs stalls not yet complete. The work should be completed by the beginning of 2021,” Bunrith said.

He said that in order to restore the income of vendors as soon as possible, the provincial administration has decided to release its own budget to support the renovation.

He added that it will be renovated to be more orderly, comfortable, with wider walkways and a water supply system and standard electrical system for fire prevention.

“The renovation of Thom Market in Battambang city has been assessed by the Department of Land Management and Urban Planning at a cost of about $84,000,” Bunrith said.

Ly Sophal, a grocery seller, expressed his happiness over the stalls being repaired as he has had difficulty earning money to support his family.

“Today, the provincial administration gave the stalls back to the vendors to resume sales. I am very excited,” Sophal said.

Chhay Sokheang, a clothing vendor, also said that since the fire at Thom market, she had to sell her goods under an umbrella to support her family.

“Since the stall fire, our vendors seem to be facing a lot of difficulties in life, and now we have our stalls back to normal and I am very happy,” Sokheang said.