A fire broke out in Chraing Chamreh I commune’s Village 5 of the capital’s Russey Keo district on December 5, damaging 12 homes and one silk-weaving business, but all of the occupants managed to get to safety and no one was harmed, according to local authorities.

District police chief Heang Tharet told The Post that the fire was caused by a negligent homeowner who left a candle burning in a spirit house situated near their bed. The candle tipped over and landed on a pile of mosquito nets and set them ablaze. The flames then spread to 12 other nearby homes and a silk-weaving business.

“Most of the houses that were damaged by the fire were actually illegally built structures encroaching on public roads,” he said.

Prum Yorn, director of the Phnom Penh Department of Fire Prevention, Extinguishing and Rescue, told The Post that during the fire fighting operation, the police used a total of 13 fire trucks and 146 cubic metres of water over the course of one hour from 7:30 am to 8:30 am on December 5.

Yorn called on residents to be more vigilant about the use of electricity and firewood as well as anything with open flames or flammable equipment, especially given how windy it can be this time of year and the greater potential for the flames to spread.

“This week alone – from November 30 to December 5 – three fires occurred in Phnom Penh leading to three deaths,” he said.

According to Yorn, the three fires last week were all caused by negligent homeowners who did not properly inspect their appliances or extinguish fires before going to bed.

One case was in Kamboul district where two victims, a three-star general and his daughter-in-law, were killed by an electrical fault.

The other took place on December 3 when a shop house selling groceries in Sen Sok district’s Kouk Khleang commune went up in flames and burned to the ground causing the death of a 54-year-old woman in the process.