A large stockpile of gunpowder meant for making fireworks went up in smoke late Saturday night at a military base in Kampong Speu, officials said today.
Treng Trayoeng commune Police Chief Prak Bunlay said four storerooms loaded with gunpowder exploded at 8:50 p.m. at the Cambodian Fireworks Company, which lies within a military compound in Phnom Sruoch district. Fireworks are assembled at the military site and later displayed at public events.
Defence Ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat declined to disclose the cost of the damage, saying such matters were “confidential” as it was an internal military matter.
“It exploded because of a technical error. We could not provide more detail about this,” he said.
Four homes, as well as an orphanage, were also affected in the blast, with windows and mirrors shattered and roof tiles falling from houses.
One soldier suffered mild head injuries after parts of the roof fell on him, but he was not hospitalised.
Bunlay said it was lucky no one was seriously injured or killed in the explosion, with debris landing up to 500 metres away from the site.
“Maybe because the room is too hot and there are no windows… that caused all the gunpowder to explode,” he said.
He said a group of experts, including from the Ministry of Defence, would assess the size of the damage.