The Phnom Penh Municipal Fire Department on Thursday called on parents and guardians to stop children under 13 years from carrying out work involving fire.
Its director, Prom Yorn, made the call after a fire on Wednesday night killed one and injured six people.
“Making children under 13 years help to cook or refill petrol in bottles or other containers without being cautious could lead to fire which destroys properties and lives,” he said.
On Wednesday, a fire at Phsar Depot II commune, Tuol Kork district, in the capital killed Yorn Srib, 71, and caused serious injuries to her other five family members including her son Bun Sororn, 41; daughter-in-law Sou Sitha, 37; grandchildren Poeun Lida, 12; and Poeun Lika, eight, and a relative, Keat Lang.
Everything they owned was destroyed, Yorn said.
“The fire was caused by a girl under 13 years who tried to reach for a bottle containing petrol to fill a motorbike. But she fell, causing the bottle to break and its contents hitting the motorbike. This caused it to catch fire which spread to the house, seriously injuring Srib and five others,” he said.
The department told The Post that up to Thursday, fires in the Kingdom have claimed six lives and injured 31, including this case.
Phnom Penh had the highest number of fatalities and injuries with two deaths and eight injured. This is followed by Pailin, Siem Reap, Prey Veng and Kampong Cham.
Yorn urged the public who are parents and guardians to be cautious and switch off the kitchen stove if it is unattended and turn off electronic equipment before leaving home as the dry season is very hot and ideal for fires to occur.
Khieu Sitha, 53, a farmer from Tbong Khmum province told The Post that she almost lost her three children to a fire in March 2018.
“I went to the farm with my husband and left my three children aged between eight and 12 at home. I told my eldest daughter to cook. When she set the fire to cook rice, she spilt some oil which burned down our house. Fortunately, she took other siblings out and escaped on time.
“It is not good that we, as parents make small children cook food. My family’ experience is enough for all people to think about this and stop making them do this type of work,” Sitha said.