Fire Destroys CMAC Workshop in Battambang

A fire destroyed part of an equipment repair workshop belonging to the Cambodian Mine Action Center’s (CMAC) Demining Unit 2 in Battambang City early Thursday, damaging demining equipment and vehicles worth an estimated $400,000, CMAC director-general Heng Ratana said.

No one was injured in the blaze, which started at about 6 a.m., but tools and demining vehicles stored in the building were badly damaged, Mr. Ratana said.

Four demining machines slated for repair will now take several weeks before they are usable again, he said.

“We will try to run business as usual, but there will be a certain impact because we can only make small repairs now,” he said.

“The deminers will still be able to work without [the machines], but the process is much slower, and our operations won’t work properly for a while,” he said, adding that demining in Battambang province’s Ratanak Mondol and Bavel districts and some areas of Preah Vihear province would be affected.

A damaged electric circuit was likely the cause of the fire, Mr. Ratana and provincial firefighters said.

“We sent three fire trucks to extinguish the fire and it took us about two hours,” said Lieutenant Colonel Kim Bunthoeun, chief of the provincial fire department, adding that CMAC and the firefighters put the damage at about $400,000.

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