Sar Kheng urges fire safety following deadly blaze

2019-09-06 11:22:09

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A woman collects pieces of her roof after a blaze. KT/Tep Sony

Interior Minister Sar Kheng yesterday issued a fire safety reminder over the current hot and dry spell following a blaze in Mondulkiri province which killed two teenagers on Monday evening.

Mr Kheng said that according to the weather forecast, temperatures in Cambodia will rise to over 40 degree Celsius over the next two months, resulting in hot and dry conditions which can easily result in fires.

“On behalf of the government, Ministry of Interior and myself, I want to appeal to all people and local officials at all levels to pay attention to preventing or tackling fires during this dry season,” he said.

Mr Kheng urged people to be mindful about sparking fires when they cook or while burning incense, candles and garbage.

He also said that people should also be careful when clearing land, disposing cigarette butts, making electrical appliance connections and storing fuel or gas.

“Local authorities must keep checks on electricity supply cables and also widen public roads in vulnerable areas to facilitate timely intervention by firefighters,” Mr Kheng said. “The fire departments in the municipality, provinces and towns should continue to educate the public on fire prevention measures and ensure quick and effective response in the event of fires.”

On Monday, a blaze in Mondulkiri province’s Pich Chreada district killed two teenagers, injured two other people and destroyed four houses.

The National Police reported yesterday that the fire occurred when the owner of a house was transferring gasoline into a basin near the kitchen and some of it spilled into a burning stove.

“The provincial police chief Lor Sokha and firefighters went down immediately to intervene and saved two women, but the two teenagers could not be rescued because the blaze spread too fast,” a National Police statement said.

The statement added that the fire started at about 5.30pm and firefighters brought it under control at around 1am yesterday.

The statement identified the dead victims as siblings Heang Samphors, 17 and Heang Sreylin, 14, who were the houseowner’s daughters.

Major General Neth Vantha, director of the Fire Control Department at Ministry of Interior, yesterday said that so far this year, there have been 149 fires throughout the Kingdom, in which 57 people were injured and the two teenagers died.

He said the number of fires decreased from the 169 cases recorded during the same period last year, but cautioned that because of the current dry season, more fires could occur.

“The Minister of Interior has called on our forces to be on standby round-the-clock to fight and be prepared to tackle fires quickly,” he said, noting however that some obstacles such as narrow roads hinder firefighters from preventing the rapid spread of blazes.

He added that 41 percent of fires are caused by electric short-circuits, 39 percent through carelessness and 20 percent are due to unknown reasons.