A Buddhist nun died in a fire at a pagoda in Kampong Cham province’s Kang Meas district on Sunday, police said on Monday.
Kang Meas district police chief Chea Chuon told The Post that nun Sorn Ly, 76, died in a fire at the retreat hall in the compound of Sovan Rangsey Pagoda at 4am on Sunday in Angkor Ban commune.
Chuon said according to the chief monk of the pagoda and nearby villagers, the nun was staying in the hall alone. The hall had no electricity connection and she was using a candle for light, which started the fire.
“Seeing the fire, monks and villagers flocked to help the nun. But the retreat hall’s door was locked inside. By the time local police arrived there to seek ways to break through, the nun had burned to death in the hall’s room,” he said.
Chuon concluded that the fire was caused by the candle lit by the nun at night. However, on Monday morning provincial fire investigators were at the scene to carry out an investigation.
Speaking to The Post, Kampong Cham provincial fire prevention office head Yorn Din said: “In reality, the careless lighting of candles and incense can ignite a fire.
“But we need to do further investigations at the scene based on technical standards. We need to avoid concluding it superficially.”
A report from the National Police’s Fire Prevention Department on Monday said the nun’s death brings the total number of dead in fires this year to six across the Kingdom.
Department director Neth Vantha told The Post on Monday that from early January to February 24, fires had broken out 127 times, killing six people, wounding two and damaging 120 houses and a total of 46 vendor stalls.
He said most fires were caused by electrical faults. Others were caused by stoves, candles, incense and cigarette butts thrown away carelessly.