A fuel truck ignited in Phnom Penh Tuesday afternoon, destroying houses and cars but leaving bystanders and the driver otherwise unharmed, witnesses and police said.
The driver of a fuel truck for Sok Kong Import Export Co. Ltd., was transferring fuel at a garage in Prampi Makara district around 12:30 pm, when a flame from an unknown source appeared along the refueling house, they said.
Seeing the flame, the driver jumped in the cab of the truck, drove about 300 meters, then exited the vehicle and fled before the tank ignited, witnesses and police said.
Police are now looking for the driver, who fled at the scene of the explosion, apparently unharmed.
The explosion ignited fires across five houses, but those were extinguished when nearly 10 fire trucks arrived at the scene, police said.
“Before the explosion, I heard a noise from the fuel truck driver, a honking of the horn, and when I came outside, I saw flames coming from the truck,” said Pich Thavy, 48, whose house caught on fire.
She called to her son and the two of them jumped from the first floor of the house. “Now I hurt my spine,” she said. “I've lost everything, including my property and vehicle. I request to Sokimex to make compensation.”
Sokimex officials were not immediately available for comment.
A policeman was injured as he helped put out the fire, which pushed a roiling column of thick black smoke over the city Tuesday.