Fire Tears Through Russei Keo

A fire raged through Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district on Mon-day afternoon, destroying 26 homes and injuring one man, ac-cording to officials. 

Tuol Sangke Commune Chief Soy Kosal said at the scene that the fire was the result of either faulty electrical wiring or a coal cooking stove; however, the injured man claimed it was sparked by children playing with firecrackers.

No one was badly injured in the fire, Soy Kosal said, but he added that the municipal fire trucks sent to Tuol Sangke had difficulty getting close to the blaze.

“People should participate with authorities to construct bigger roads because when such an accident occurs, firefighter trucks have difficulty helping in time,” he said.

Sok Vannara, deputy chief of the municipal firefighter police, said 12 fire trucks were sent to put out the blaze.

“If we failed [to act punctually], the fire would burn down an electricity station about 50 meters from the place and another 100 houses would have burned down,” he said, adding that according to his officers, the fire was caused by a coal cooking stove.

However, Dork Thin, 42, who received burns on his arms and back while saving his 3-month-old son from the blaze, said the fire originated under his house and was caused by three or four boys who were there playing with firecrackers.

“Under my home there is a lot of dry garbage: plastic, papers and everything else,” Dork Thin said, adding that he was next door when the fire started.

Later in the day, Dork Thin was admitted to Calmette Hospital for treatment of his burns.

Deputy commune chief Kroy Sokhemarin said by telephone Monday evening that 26 houses were destroyed in the fire and 31 families left homeless.


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