Decrease in fires recorded during this year’s Pchum Ben
The National Police reported 18 fires across the country during three days of the Pchum Ben festival, a decrease compared with the same period last year. According to a report by the Ministry of Interior yesterday, between Thursday and Saturday, 18 fires were recorded, eight fewer than the 26 recorded during the same period last year.
It said the primary causes of the fires were electrical malfunctions, neglected incense sticks or candles and gas explosions.
The worst of the fires broke out on Friday in Samraong Yong market along National Highway 2, Takeo province, which according to authorities razed at least 230 stalls.
Bati district deputy police chief lieutenant colonel Chhay Keomony said the fire started at around 7pm and was extinguished around 10pm.
The authorities said they were able to control the blaze and prevent it from spreading to local residential buildings in the district, with some 100 fire trucks used in the operation.
Reports indicate that some 230 out of the 233 stalls at the market have been destroyed.
The blaze is by far the biggest fire-related disaster in the Kingdom this year, followed by the fire at the Thom Market in Battambang last month, which razed 33 stalls.
According to a report by the Fire and Rescue Police Department, the cause of the fire was an electrical malfunction, with the total damage estimated at $2 million.
Bin Chhin, minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers, has donated $70,000 to help rebuild the roof of the market.
He said that authorities have also set up a commission to study the rebuild and hopes vendors will pay for their own stalls to be repaired and contribute to the rebuilding of the market roof.
Director of the Interior Ministry’s fire department Major General Neth Vantha appealed to all citizens to use caution when handling or keeping flammable liquids and materials and keep them away from ignition sources and open flames.
He also urged citizens to unplug all electrical devices – including appliances – after use and before leaving the house.
Fire extinguishers must also be kept at homes and workplaces in case of emergency, he added. Sen David / Khmer Times