HA NOI — Public places nationwide are being put under fire inspection and regulations, according to a decision by the Minister of Public Security. The decision is the result of recent big fires with losses of tens of millions of dollars.
|A fire in an interior design shop in Ha Noi's Cau Giay District. Many fires in the city have been caused by electrical short circuits. — VNA/VNS Photo Thong Nhat
At the beginning of this month, a fire in central Quang Ngai Province's biggest market caused losses of VND200 billion (US$9.5 million).
A fire last week in a HCM City restaurant resulting from an electricity clash endangered the lives of more than 500 customers and burned the restaurant's equipment.
Lieutenant-general To Thuong, head of the ministry's Police General Department for Administrative Management for Social Order and Safety, said the inspections include high-rise buildings, residential quarters, schools, hospitals, cinemas and discotheques. The aim is to detect and punish violators and prevent the risk fire.
Thuong said strict punishments would be applied.
Under the current regulations, a violator will be fined between VND50,000-20 million ($2.38-952) and forced to adopt measures to tackle environmental pollution and other consequences.
Tran Ngoc Duong, of Fire Prevention and Fighting in the Ha Noi Police Department, said most of the city's 370 high-rise buildings (with more than seven floors) failed to comply with fire prevention regulations. They lack appropriate exits or entrances, equipment to prevent and fight fire, and safe electricity systems.
He said this was because most of the buildings' management boards hesitated to spend money on fire fighting systems even though they were aware of the importance.
Since July, nearly 200 fires have occurred in which 12 people have been killed and 14 injured. Four of these fires were in high-rise buildings.
He said old residential quarters and low-quality resettlement areas also posed similar high risks of fire.
"About 80 per cent of fires resulted from electricity clashes."
The department fined violators and asked the investors and management boards to have plans to repair the building. As for those that are too old to be improved, the department suggested the city stop their operation, he said. — VNS