AUTHORITIES have accelerated the construction of a fire station in Russey Keo district after a fire in Chraing Chamres II commune destroyed more than 200 homes and left nearly 2,000 people homeless last month, an official said Wednesday.
“The new station will ease the work of our firefighters. It will help them put out a fire quickly when there is a blaze nearby,” said Neth Vantha, director of the Phnom Penh Fire Department.
He said the station’s construction began last year but that last month’s fire had motivated authorities to hasten its completion. The new station will measure 30 metres wide and 100 metres in length.
“Right now, there are 15 fire trucks [in Phnom Penh], but only 10 fire trucks are working. Half of them will be sent to the new station. Another 10 trucks will arrive,” he added.
Russey Keo district Deputy Governor Ly Rosamy said she does not know when the new station will be complete, but that it should guard against future conflagrations.
“The station will encourage people living in the area to be cautious of fire,” she said.
Those residents affected by last month’s blaze are currently living in makeshift tents on their land and are calling for additional support from authorities.
“We are cold because we live in tents,” said resident Seng Matt Ly.
He added that officials have started measuring roads in the commune to ensure that new roads will be 4 metres wide so that the fire department can have easy access.
Last month’s blaze spread quickly partly because authorities were unable to access the area easily via its tight roads. “Some alleyways will need to be widened a half-metre or one meter,” he said.