Gov’t to Enforce Fire Safety After Club Blaze

In the wake of a nightclub fire in Bavet City that killed five people on Monday, the Tourism Ministry has decided to begin more aggressively enforcing a 2014 sub-decree that requires all bars, nightclubs and karaoke parlors to have multiple exits, fire extinguishers and soundproofing, the minister said Thursday.

The sub-decree has been in place since last year, but the ministry will now start conducting inspections to ensure that venues are adhering to the law, Tourism Minister Thong Khon said in an interview.

“In order to prevent accidents, we ask all nightclubs, bars and KTVs to have many entrances and exits and fire extinguishers and not to interrupt people with noise,” Mr. Khon said.

“We will start to implement these…things first,” he added.

Mr. Khon said provincial tourism departments will begin inspecting entertainment venues and if they are not in compliance with the sub-decree, they have three months to remedy the situation.

“If they do not do it, we will not allow them to continue to do business,” he said.

Mr. Khon said the Tourism Ministry’s decision to conduct inspections is directly related to a number of recent fires in entertainment venues.

“Since we have seen a series of accidents, and we cannot allow such accidents to happen again and again, we need to change,” he said.

In the early hours of Monday morning, a short circuit caused an electrical fire at a nightclub in Bavet City’s Bavet commune, killing five people and seriously injuring another.

According to police and the injured man, the nightclub had only one exit and the victims were killed when that doorway caught on fire.

Keo Kong, Bavet City police chief, said Thursday that police were still investigating the cause of the fire and who was responsible for it.

In November, four Cambodians and an Australian man were killed when an electrical fire destroyed the Hip Hop Restaurant & Discotheque in Siem Reap City.

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