Fifty Faint After Machine Catches Fire at Shoe Factory

About 50 female workers fainted at a shoe factory in Kompong Chhnang province Saturday when an embossing machine burst into flames, causing smoke and fumes to fill part of the plant, a union official said Sunday.

Yin Sokhom, deputy president of the Free Trade Union at the Long Lead factory in Samakki Meanchey district’s Sethei commune, said the machine caught fire at about 1 p.m. on Saturday.

“It caused a lot of smoke…and the workers choked on the smoke mixed with the odor of burning cloth,” Mr. Sokhom said, adding that 29 workers fainted just after the fire was extinguished while about 20 others passed out about 15 minutes later.

The union leader said most of the women were sent to the district referral hospital or local clinics Saturday, but would return to their stations today.

“We replaced the machine with a new one and the workers will work as usual. We cleaned the factory already,” he said.

Representatives of the factory could not be reached Sunday.

A Taiwanese-owned garment factory in Svay Rieng province temporarily closed last week after more than 100 workers collapsed in two mass faintings the previous weekend.

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