A fire that burned in the bellies of four trailer-sized generators on the grounds of an Electricite du Cambodge branch in Russei Keo district’s Tuol Sangke commune took 50 Phnom Penh firefighters on more than 10 trucks about an hour and a half to extinguish Sunday afternoon.
The cause of the fire, which broke out at around 2:30 pm, remains unknown, though municipal Police Chief Touch Naruth said he thinks a small, manmade fire nearby may have ignited the larger one.
“The cause of the fire probably came from burned trash,” Touch Naruth said.
Mao Yoeung, 55, an EdC worker, admitted to burning trash in the vicinity of the generators, but said that he had done so a few meters away, at a safe distance from the generators.
“I did burn the trash, but I do not believe it caused a fire,” he said, adding that he had left the premises after shutting the generators off at 2 pm on orders from EdC headquarters.
Chea Sun Hel, EdC director of distribution, said the fires will not affect Phnom Penh’s electricity supply, as the generators belonged to a private company that was supplementing the city’s supply minimally upon demand.
He added that each generator cost less than $10,000 and can easily be replaced.
The much larger generators within the EdC building on site—which, according to Russei Keo District Governor Khlaing Huot, supply electricity to all of Russei Keo district and a portion of Daun Penh district—were unaffected by the fire.
Sok Vannra, deputy chief of the municipal fire department, said the fire could have caused a much larger-scale disaster if it had spread to two large diesel tanks located directly next to the four generators.
“Fortunately, the fire was under control,” he said.
“If we had not come early, the two diesel tanks might have caught fire.”