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VietNamNews

Fire in apartment complex reveals deadly hazards

Update: November, 01/2016 - 14:00
The hydro-less hydrants on the eighth floor. — VNA/VNS Photo Sơn Bách
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI —  A fire broke out last night on the eighth floor of the CT2 Building of the Rainbow Linh Đàm apartment complex.

The complex is located in the southwestern urban area of Linh Đàm, Hoàng Mai District, Hà Nội City.

Chaos ensued when black smoke engulfed the corridor and residents began fleeing the high-rise complex.

Long, a resident living on the second floor of the opposite building, was one of the first to discover the fire. He told a Vietnamplus reporter, that at first, he smelled something burning. Looking up, he then saw the fire ravaging an apartment upstairs.

“The fire alarm in the CT2 building was not working. I had to run to the building’s first floor to activate the alarm, and then went upstairs to the eighth floor to warn people in other apartments,” he said.

Three fire trucks were deployed to the scene, however, they encountered difficulty accessing the building, since residents’ cars blocked the entrance. Several people had to manually carry a four-seater car aside to make way for the fire trucks.

Fire engines were utilised to spray water directly through the windows of the apartment that was on fire. Firefighters in gas masks were sent to the eighth floor.

At about 12 pm, the fire was contained for the most part. 

Residents have been instructed on how to safely evacuate should such incidents occur. 

Fortunately, there was no casualty. 

The incident is under investigation. 

Deadly shortcomings in fire protection revealed

“It’s ironic how the alarms went off loudly during fire drills, but when a fire actually broke out, they stayed dead silent. It’s really lucky no one was trapped inside,” Long said, with visible exasperation – a sentiment shared by many other residents.

However, it seems that the shortcomings in the building’s fire protection don’t just stop at malfunctioning fire alarms.

At 11:30pm, the fire had gone on for quite some time, but the electricity system in the CT2 building still hadn’t been cut off, leaving the whole building at risk of short circuit.

The firefighters who were sent to the eighth floor via stairs said they originally intended to connect hoses with internal hydrants (embedded in the walls) to douse the fire. But, instead of water, all they got from the hydrants was a pitiful amount of foul-smelling black mud.

The pipelines that firefighters brought to the scene to contain the fire were rendered useless. The fire containment solely relied on ladder trucks on the ground floor.

The firefighters’ job was then to direct old people, young children and women to urgently evacuate by stairs to safety.

The Rainbow apartment complex was advertised to feature a state-of-the-art “automatic fire hose system” located in the general corridor that can quickly extinguish fire. — VNS

 

A ladder truck was used to spray water right through the apartment’s windows. — VNA/VNS Photo Sơn Bách

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