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Vendors Will Rebuild on Razed Site of Market Fire

Representatives of Leu Market vendors called on the cabinet of Prime Minister Hun Sen Friday, following a fire that destroyed all but four stalls in the Sihanoukville market but injured no one early Thursday morning.

The representatives were allowed to enter the prime minsiter's residence in Takhmau district, Kandal province, just outside Phnom Penh, though Hun Sen himself was not there, vendors said.

Officials gave vendors a signed document promising they would be allowed to rebuild at the same site at Leu Market, which was all but destroyed in a fire late Wednesday and early Thursday.

"We're extremely happy" to receive official permission to rebuild, one vendor said Friday, "because we have hope."

The fire destroyed more than 1,000 stalls, authorities said.

Government officials said the blaze was started from the blown embers of a vendor's charcoal brazier, but investigators from the rights group Licadho said circumstances surrounding the fire were suspicious enough to warrant further investigation.

Officials said the market could cost up to $1 million to rebuild.