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Blast sparks tighter rules on explosives

Update: February, 27/2013 - 07:23

HCM CITY (VNS)— The HCM City People's Committee chairman Le Hoang Quan has ordered the Department of Planning and Investment to review all companies that use inflammable and explosive materials after two accidental explosions rocked the city last week.

Speaking at a meeting on Monday, Quan told the department that in the future all companies working with these materials seeking investment licences must receive permission from the committee.

He also ordered district-level bodies to improve inspections in residential areas to ensure safety.

On Sunday, the two explosions caused three houses to collapse on Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street in the city's District 3, killing 11 people and injuring three.

The blasts, which occurred five minutes apart, were believed to have been caused by explosives commonly used in movie special effects. They were being stored in one of the houses, according to initial investigations.

Le Minh Phuong, 58, director of the HCM City-based Lac Viet film studio, lived at the address and often stored explosive compounds in his home which he would later use at work to create smoke and fire effects.

He rented the house two months ago to live with his wife and three children and a housemaid. All died in the explosions.

The fact that Phuong stored inflammable and explosive materials at home was a violation of fire prevention regulations, said Tran Trieu Duong, director of the city's Department of Police Fire Prevention and Fighting, Rescue and Salvage.

Duong added that many members of the public were worried about gas trading shops and welding workshops that have been granted licences to operate in crowded residential areas, as they come with a fire and explosion risk.

His department inspected these shops in every quarter of 2012 and would continue to do so this year, he said. — VNS

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