The blaze that destroyed an unlicensed oil refinery which produced diesel in Kampong Speu province’s Phnom Sruoch district on Tuesday was caused by a faulty electrical system, a police investigation has found.
Kampong Speu provincial police chief Sam Samoun told The Post on Wednesday that after questioning the refinery’s owner, Thorn Sengly, it had been determined that Tuesday’s fire was caused by an electrical malfunction.
Phnom Sruoch district police chief Say Bun Thorn said an investigation by specialists and a confession from the refinery’s owner revealed that the blaze was started when an electrical malfunction caused sparks to fall on barrels of diesel.
The fire started at around 3:45pm on Tuesday, with police using four fire engines to put out the blaze. Two were from Kampong Speu provincial police headquarters and two from a Cambodia-Vietnam military training school in Phnom Sruoch district.
“The diesel oil refinery had been shut down by police as it operated without legal permission, but it had secretly restarted production,” Kampong Speu provincial police chief Samoun said.
District police chief Bun Thorn said a committee had inspected the location in Dambouk Roung commune’s Damnak Trach village after the fire and found the refinery had been operating illegally.
The Ministry of Economy and Finance also confirmed that the refinery did not have a licence to operate.
“Although the oil refinery was operating illegally, authorities still employed fire engines to put out the fire because, as authorities, we must help people,” Bun Thorn said.
As well the property, an oil tanker, seven crude oil processing units, six oil containers and 24 connection pipes were destroyed, among other equipment, while 67,000 litres of diesel went up in smoke, he added.