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Residents feel unsafe near chemical shops

Update: August, 17/2015 - 09:36
Firefighters stamps out a fire at a chemical shop in HCM City in 2014. HCM City residents are concerned about the risk of fires and explosions from nearby chemical warehouses, shops and factories as the city government has yet to find a safe place to relocate them. — Photo baotintuc.vn

HCM CITY (VNS) — HCM City residents are concerned about the risk of fires and explosions from nearby chemical warehouses, shops and factories as the city government has yet to find a safe place to relocate them.

A local woman who lives near a chemical shop in District 5, who declined to be named, said her neighbours were concerned bout chemical-related accidents.

"When we smell a strange odor, we immediately rush out of the house to see where it comes from," she said.

Following cases of deadly fires and explosions in recent years, the city's People's Committee has ordered agencies to draft plans to relocate or upgrade shops selling flammable chemicals to ensure safety.

The city's departments of Industry and Trade, Health and Agriculture and Rural Development have been asked to work with local districts to establish a centre for selling chemicals that would be located outside residential areas.

Tran Xuan Dien, deputy director of the city's Department of Industry and Trade, said the departments were working to find an appropriate location to build the centre. The decision will be made by year-end.

He said the outlying districts of Binh Chanh and Thu Duc were under consideration.

The departments will work with the districts to ensure the plan would not conflict with urban planning in each district.

Diep Dang Khoa, deputy representative chief of the Chemical Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said the relocation policy must be considered carefully.

New effort

In addition to relocating or upgrading shops selling flammable chemicals, the city has instructed the fire department to identify shops that do not meet fire safety regulations and recommend measures to move or upgrade them.

Agencies have been asked to focus on crowded places like markets and high-rise buildings, chemical manufacturing, trading and processing facilities and shops selling chemicals and other flammable goods.

HCM City has also instructed the police to work with the fire brigade to improve fire safety management, ensure better control over chemical facilities and arms depots, and keep a safe distance between these facilities and residential areas and production facilities.

A number of blazes and explosions have occurred in the last year, causing extensive human and property losses.

Last year 301 fires and explosions were reported, in which 26 people were killed and 27 others injured.

They included an explosion at Dang Huynh Company in District 12 that killed three people and injured four. An explosion on Ly Thuong Kiet Street in District 10 left four dead.

According to agencies, the failure to abide by fire safety regulations by individuals and businesses was one of the main reasons for the accidents.

Similarly, a fire at a shop selling chemicals and equipment on Nguyen Trai Street in District 5 killed seven people and destroyed the house and goods stored in it.

The situation could have been even worse since many shops sell chemicals in residential areas.

Most of the 640 facilities that manufacture or trade dangerous chemicals such as those used for industrial production and in the health sector are located near Kim Bien Market in District 5, according to the Department of Industry and Trade. — VNS

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