Firefighters in Kampong Cham province on Sunday managed to extinguish an early morning blaze at the historic Preah Sihamoni theatre in the provincial city.
The building itself was first commissioned as a theatre in the late 1960s. It was later repurposed in 1975 as a salt warehouse under the Khmer Rouge. Following the downfall of the regime in 1979, the building was then reused to screen films.
Khem Kimseng, a provincial deputy police chief, said yesterday that the fire was caused by faulty electrical wirings.
Mr Kimseng said firefighters were able to put out the fire shortly after it began and the damaged areas have since been repaired.
“The fire at Preah Sihamoni on Sunday was due to an electrical fault,” he said. “Repairs followed shortly after the fire was extinguished and now everything is back to normal.”
The fire broke out at about 6.30am on Sunday and damaged walls and seats, a statement from the provincial police said.
“The fire destroyed some parts of the theatre such as ceiling plaster, walls, two wooded doors and about 85 chairs in the main theatre,” it said.
Firefighters from two stations used five trucks to extinguish the flames as police helped facilitate the movement of traffic, it added. No one was injured during the blaze.
In March, the Angkor Grand Theatre in Siem Reap, which only launched in October, also caught fire. Authorities also blamed the incident on faulty electrical wiring. The fire cost the theatre about $15 million to repair.
The Interior Ministry’s Fire Prevention Department said last week that there were 351 in the first half of this year alone, compared to 309 cases during the first half of last year. The ministry said 15 people died, while 32 were injured, in the fires.
Neth Vantha, a Fire Prevention Department director at the ministry, said that 40 percent of fires in the Kingdom were due to short circuiting.