A senior executive of construction company LBL denied the firm
was to blame for the blaze which burnt down the Bassac Theater.
workers were using a blow torch on the roof of the theater on the morning it
burnt down last month, said administrative director Thierry Loustau
he believed it was impossible for them to have caused the fire, even though it
apparently started in the roof area.
He also revealed that the blaze
occurred on virtually the last day the company was working on the theater, under
a contract from the French Embassy to repair leaks in the roof.
told the Post at the company's headquarters in Monivong Boulevard: "The fire
started after 11 am and the workers weren't even on the roof at the time, they
were on the ground taking a break, eating lunch or drinking coffee.
stayed to help fight the fire, if they had been responsible for anything they
would have run away."
He explained that a low intensity torch was used to
join strips of rubberized roofing material together by melting the
But he added that the bitumen-based Soprasun strip was virtually
Loustau also said he had a dated photograph taken on the
roof on the morning of the blaze which showed the work completed, with no holes
for burning materials to fall through to spark the fire.
He said: "I've
gone through in my mind how this could have happened again and again but I just
"It is terrible because the theater represents something
The seven Vietnamese and two French LBL executives
were taken to a police station for questioning. The French were released on the
day of the fire and the Vietnamese two days afterwards, Loustau said.
added that the workers had remained in the country and are still working for the
Loustau said he had not yet been informed by the police of the
results of their investigation. The company was uninsured due to the difficulty
of arranging policies in the Cambodia.
Loustau said he went to the
theater soon after the fire started and added: "It was terrible. I saw the fire
and never thought it could burn the whole building down."
He said that
LBL had tried to arrange insurance before starting work on the theater but it
had been impossible to obtain a policy.