At least four people were killed and another seriously injured in two different fires, one at a nightclub in Sihanoukville and the other at a house in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district.
In Preah Sihanouk, provincial police chief Chuon Narin said the fire began around 8pm on January 30 in Village 3 of Sihanoukville’s Commune III, claiming two lives.
Narin identified the deceased as Horn Sreyvath, 18, a staff member at the club, and Phorn Makara, a local blacksmith.
"We transported them to the provincial referral hospital, but they were severely burned and died while receiving treatment," he said on January 31.
According to Narin, the blacksmith was hired to build stands and frames for curtains at the club. Sreyvath was standing nearby watching him weld when sparks from his equipment landed on some mattresses, causing them to burst into flames. The interior of the club was completely gutted by the fire.
The other fatal fire occurred in Phsar Depot II commune of the capital’s Tuol Kork district on January 31.
Kong Thou, deputy chief of the municipal bureau of fire prevention and rescue, said the fire began around 10am, killing three people, one of them a woman.
It was also started by the sparks from welding equipment being used in the house, though in this case they are unsure if it was some kind of flammable gas that was ignited due to the suddenness of the blaze.
Thou said 10 fire trucks were used to extinguish the fire.
Police found the body of a man who was burned to death in a room and rushed the injured to hospital. But the woman's injuries proved too serious and she succumbed to them after arriving there.
A police officer who asked not to be named said that the fire first broke out in a house that was being renovated before spreading quickly to a food eatery where employees were sleeping inside, adding that the man who died may have been killed by smoke inhalation.