There were 937 fires throughout the country this year as of December 15, an increase of 220 cases compared to the same period last year, according to a report from the National Police’s Department of Fire Prevention, Extinguishing and Rescue.

Fires have killed 24 people and injured 36 so far this year, and have caused damages to 707 houses and 594 market stalls.

The report said 37.88 per cent of the fires were triggered by electrical explosions, 32.33 per cent were sparked by negligence, while 29.77 per cent are still under investigation.

The capital reported the most cases with 117 fires followed by the provinces of Kandal at 99 and Siem Reap at 85. Of the provinces that recorded fires, Ratanakkiri had the least, at five, while Tbong Khmum had six.

Phnom Penh municipal fire department director Prom Yorn told The Post on December 20 that the significant surge in jobs available had encouraged people from the provinces to move to the capital for work.

He chalked up the rise in incidences of fire in the capital to improper inspections of electrical systems and networks, as well as members of local communities being increasingly careless in their use of stoves, candles and incense.

“We found that most of the fires happened due to disregard on the part of home-owners. They failed to check the electrical systems and networks in their homes,” Yorn said.

He said inspections were often too infrequent or not up to technical standards, leading to fatalities and damage to personal and public property.

He called on the public to take precautions and prevent possible fires.