|The blaze at the 2B Tran Hung Dao Street filling station in Ha Noi was extinguished after a five hour struggle. — VNS Photo Truong Vi
HA NOI (VNS)— A huge fire broke out at a petrol station at 2B Tran Hung Dao Street, Ha Noi, yesterday afternoon. At least six fire fighters and three petrol station workers were hospitalised with burns.
The fire was put out at 6.15pm, nearly five hours after it started near a fuel-tank truck carrying a huge amount of gasoline, according to Colonel To Xuan Thieu, deputy director of Ha Noi's Fire Fighting Department.
Heat from the blaze could be felt hundreds of metres away.
Thieu said the six injured firemen were first sent to the Military Hospital 108, which is opposite to the station. Later, they were transferred to the burns ward of the Saint Paul Hospital.
According to the head of the ward, Nguyen Thong, yesterday evening, the victims got burns to their faces and arms. Two of them photographed with their clothes engulfed in flames received large burns on their arms.
Initially, up to 80 fire engines were sent to the blaze. About 10 fire engines were kept at the scene until late last night to make sure the fire did not break out again.
Fire fighters kept pumping water into the burnt area, particularly the underground storage tank, which was reported to contain 75cu.m of gasoline, three times that of the load carried on the truck.
The petrol station belongs to the Military Gas and Oil Company. The blaze was initially believed to be from an oil leakage during the pumping process.
The fire is likely to have come from stoves at a nearby restaurant, according to witnesses.
According to a Viet Nam News' on-the-scene reporter, a two-storey Pho restaurant was destroyed in the blaze, together with a car and about 10 motorbikes.
The reporter said that many local residents panicked yesterday afternoon and had to be removed from the area.
He also said that sand and fire-fighting foam were used to keep the fire from the truck spreading.
The director of the Ha Noi Fire Fighting Department, Nguyen Duc Nghi, had asked for additional forces and equipment from the Ministry of Public Security.
Ta Quang Hung, a vehicle keeper from Military Hospital 108 recalled that while he was doing his job, he heard a big explosion from the station, and then saw smoke.
He immediately rang local police, and asked people nearby to keep calm.
The Ha Noi Electricity cut power to neighbouring areas to prevent the fire from spreading yesterday afternoon. — VNS