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Holiday fires injure eight, damage five structures

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A house almost burnt down completely. Heng Chivoan

Holiday fires injure eight, damage five structures

Eight people were injured in five fires over the replacement Khmer New Year holiday from August 17 to 21, according to the National Police’s Department of Fire Prevention, Extinguishing and Rescue.

Department director Neth Vantha said on Sunday that causes of the fires included electrical failures, gas explosions and arson.

He said the fires occurred in Stung Treng, Kep, Siem Reap, Preah Sihanouk and Kandal provinces. The fires also damaged three houses and a handicraft factory and destroyed a shed.

“Eight people were mildly injured but no one was seriously injured. When a fire occurs, our forces intervene immediately because it can cause a lot of damage to our people’s property,” he said.

According to a department report, one of the fires destroyed a home in Slakram commune’s Treang village in Siem Reap town on August 18.

The report said the home belonged to 63-year-old Khun Mao, a housewife living in the commune. Her wooden home with a zinc roof measured 35sqm. No one was injured in the fire, which officials said was caused by an electrical failure.

Another house in Tomnup Roloak commune’s Village 1 in Preah Sihanouk province’s Stung Hav district almost burnt down completely after 35-year-old In Rath Thea set fire to it. Thea, who is believed to be mentally ill, is the son of the homeowner and started the fire after getting in a verbal dispute with his mother, 68-year-old Ngov Mom. The house measured 54sqm, according to district police chief Ros Kei.

Kei said Rath Thea had tried to set fire to his house several times before but was stopped by neighbours in time.

“The perpetrator [Rath Thea] was arrested and taken to the district police for questioning and further legal action,” Kei said.

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