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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Blaze rips through house at Wat Botum complex

Blaze rips through house at Wat Botum complex

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

No injuries or deaths reported in the fire - the second in three years to strike the central Phnom Penh temple 

Photo by:
TRACEY SHELTON

Phnom Penh's Wat Botum after a blaze Monday destroyed a house.

ONE of the many ramshackle houses within the Wat Botum complex burned to the ground on Monday morning, in an accidental fire caused by an untended candle. No one was injured in the blaze.  

The house caught fire at 7:15am and raged until 7:45am, when fire authorities intervened. It is the second time in three years that a building at Wat Botum has caught fire.

Chek Heng, 20, a monk, lived on the first floor of the building but escaped unscathed. Ten students and three monks had been living in the house, and all of them fled as soon as the fire began.

"By 7:45am, the house was completely burned, with four motorbikes, luggage, study materials and clothes destroyed. The fire was caused by a candle left burning in a room on the bottom floor when its occupant went out for his morning coffee and did not blow out the candle," Chek Heng told the Post on Monday.

"I and two other monks were very frightened. It was very lucky that no was injured."

The occupant of the room has denied he was to blame for the fire, but students living in other parts of the building confirmed the fire began in his room.

Sin Thory, 50, a fireman, said nine firetrucks were needed to quash the blaze.

At the previous fire in Wat Botum, an electrical fault was to blame for the fire, and damage was estimated at $100,000.

Oum Bun Theoun, chief of the Fire Division, said his entire squad was sent down to the area to combat the blaze. He said most fires in Phnom Penh are caused by electrical faults, careless cooking, untended candles and leaving the plug continuously on for electrical products such as TVs, airconditioners and computers.

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