Fires nationwide drop in number

2022-10-03 13:37:13

September 20, 2022/ Khmer Times

The Fire Department of the Ministry of Interior has reported that for the first nine months of this year there were 496 cases of fire reported by police, a drop of 24 cases compared to the same period last year.

Department director Lieutenant General Neth Vantha said yesterday that most fires were caused by faulty electrical wiring, damaged gas canisters and carelessness that resulted in the deaths of 13 people and injured 43 others.

The director added that when called to fires the department is often confronted with houses and apartments located in narrow places or fires in high-rise buildings making access difficult for firefighters.

Lt Gen Vantha also appealed to authorities to create community awareness about preventing fires and train people in villages and communes firefighting skills. There must also be put in place procedures to follow when a fire breaks out for community members to understand what to do such as extinguishing or suppressing fires until firefighting units arrive.

“I request that a committee be established to train people in the capital and provinces about fire prevention, safety and evacuation procedures to save people’s lives, and checking firefighting equipment such as water pumps, and people should be trained in how to extinguish fires,” he said.

The capital has a total of 145 firefighters, 40 of which are contracted, and 58 fire trucks.

The fire department has fire trucks and other firefighting equipment that can handle most fires that break out, however, Cambodia’s rapid development has thrown other challenges at firefighters.

“In the future, the current number of firefighters will be not enough as will be the number of fire trucks especially ladder fire trucks because there are many high-rise offices and residential buildings being constructed which will present other challenges for firefighters if a fire breaks out in these structures,” Lt Gen Vantha said.

Brigadier General Soup Sokhim, Deputy Commissioner representing the Fire Prevention and Rescue Police Unit of the Phnom Penh Municipal Police, said that in the first nine months of 2022, there were 83 fires in the capital requiring 998 water tankers and 3,833 cubic metres of water to battle the blazes.

He said that fires have killed one person, injured 24, burned 113 houses, destroyed 27 cars and 14 motorbikes, damaged six karaoke rooms, in addition to one club, a gas station, one LPG depot and some equipment damaged by fire.

He added that most fires were caused by faulty electrical wiring or 56 cases, one by a traffic accident and 26 other cases for a variety of reasons.

Phnom Penh Governor Khuong Sreng expressed his appreciation yesterday to the fire and rescue police of the Phnom Penh Municipal Police, the fire police of the Ministry of Interior, Phnom Penh City Hall and firefighters for their excellent work and the praise firefighters received from the public for intervening to extinguish the fire in time.

Sreng said that in the past, firefighters had been criticised for their work, but now firefighting forces of the Phnom Penh Fire Prevention and Extinguishing Office are receiving praise for their work.