The Ministry of Interior’s Department of Fire Prevention, Extinguishing and Rescue called on the general public to exercise caution and be mindful of fire safety measures as the dry season begins.
Department director Neth Vantha made the call following a weekend that saw several fires break out in Phnom Penh and three provinces – Siem Reap, Kratie and Svay Rieng – killing five people, destroying nearly 100 houses and torching 40ha of a sugarcane plantation.
“We urge more caution in using fire for cooking, rubbish disposal or clearing vegetation to grow rice. Extra attention should also be paid when using older electrical appliances, which often spark fires,” Vatha said.
Prum Yorn, director of the Phnom Penh municipal fire prevention, extinguishing and rescue department, told The Post that areas where there are structures built without any planning, organisation or standards that often have unprofessional electrical wiring were particularly vulnerable to fires.
In the capital, he said five fires occurred in the first 12 days of December in Russey Keo, Sen Sok and Daun Penh districts, destroying 95 homes but causing no casualties.
In Kratie province, deputy provincial police chief Chreung Phally said two girls aged 2 and 4 were killed by a fire while their parents suffered light injuries from a blaze caused by a petrol bottle falling near the fire place on December 10.
In Svay Rieng province, Svay Tieb district deputy police chief Has Saly said a fire destroyed 40ha of a sugarcane plantation in Koki commune. Police suspect that the fire was intentionally set and are investigating the case further.
The fire department said that so far this year, fires have killed 25 people, seriously injured 38 others and destroyed over 600 houses and 220 market stalls.