June, 05 2013 10:20:00

Petrol stations deemed to be unsafe following Ha Noi blaze

Petrol stations in Ha Noi will be checked for fire prevention after the blaze at 2B petrol station on Tran Hung Dao Street early this week. — Photo thethaovanhoa.vn

HA NOI (VNS) — Many petrol stations in Ha Noi are said to be violating safety regulations and more than 500 will be checked for fire-prevention measures.

Major-general Nguyen Duc Nghi, director of the capital's Fire Fighting Department, announced this following a huge fire on Monday, the first fire reported at a petrol station in the capital's Tran Hung Dao Street.

The blaze, which lasted for five hours, injured 10 fire fighters, three petrol station workers and two residents living next to the station.

Losses are estimated at nearly VND10 billion (US$476,000).

An initial investigation yesterday showed the petrol station violated a number of fire prevention regulations, including restocking petrol supplies at noon and other safety conditions.

Among other stations singled out for criticism are five in Dong Da District - at 179 De La Thanh Street, 1 Lang Ha Street, 233 Kham Thien Street, 185 Nguyen Luong Bang Street or 171 Truong Chinh Street.

They are reported to have been set up in crowded residential areas, near schools and hospitals.

Government regulations in effect since 2009 state that petrol stations be at least seven metres from any road and 100 metres from residential areas, hospitals and schools.

Nguyen Thanh Hoa, a resident on Kham Thien Street, said that she has lived near the petrol station for years and had never been worried about her family's safety.

However, the fire at 2B Tran Hung Dao Street terrified her. She said local authorities should be responsible for protecting residents, who should not be penalised because of the proximity of a petrol station.

Many other residents shared the same concerns.

Colonel Tran Ngoc Duong from the Fire Fighting Department said many old petrol stations did not meet fire-prevention criteria.

He said punishments and solutions would be introduced to solve the problem.

The department's officials said local authorities should ensure public safety by carefully granting certificates for trading in flammable goods.

Nguyen Van Dong, deputy director of the city's Industry and Trade Department, said the city had already planned to remove 55 stations by the end of next year and more than 50 others will be upgraded.

The department will boost the implementation of the plan, he said.

Two fires were reported at petrol stations in HCM City last year, claiming the life of one child. —VNS

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