Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — A fire broke out on an islet in Nha Trang City in the central Khánh Hoà Province on Tuesday night, destroying 78 houses and other property. No casualties were reported.
The fire occurred at about 10:30pm at a house on Nhất Trí Islet in Vĩnh Phước Ward before quickly spreading to nearby houses.
Nguyễn Anh Tuấn, a local resident, told the media the fire might have originated from the home of a man who fell asleep while he was cooking mash for pigs.
Đỗ Thị Kim Liên, 45, whose house was destroyed, said in tears that her family was about to go to bed when she saw through her window the fire at her neighbour’s house and attempted to assist the neighbour in putting out the fire.
However, the wind quickly blew the fire out of control, spreading to her house as well as others.
“My family only managed to escape with some clothes,” she said. “Everything was destroyed by the fire. Nothing was left.”
Firefighting police officers arrived at the area quickly after being informed, but they could not reach the scene because it is only connected with the mainland by one small road.
Most of the houses were made of wood and corrugated steel sheets, which caused the fire to spread quickly to a large area.
Local people had to use rafts and water pumps to assist the effort, while others helped firefighters put out the flames using buckets of water and fire extinguishers.
The fire was under control by 2:30am.
The provincial People’s Committee held a press conference yesterday afternoon to provide initial assessment of the damage and assistance for affected families, Vietnam News Agency reported.
The province’s Fatherland Front gave affected families VNĐ10 million (US$450) each whereas Việt Nam General Confederation of Labour provided VNĐ120 million ($5,400).
Speaking at the press conference, chairman of Khánh Hòa People’s Committee, Lê Đức Vinh asked local relevant authorities to quickly settle all 78 households in the Khánh Hòa Medical College’s dormitory.
“Competent authorities should continue helping locals collect their property, provide each family with VNĐ20 million and protect the scene in order to determine the cause of the fire,” Vinh said.
“In the long term, Nha Trang City should develop a plan for those entitled to housing to help them soon stabilise their lives.”
In a related development, Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình yesterday issued an urgent message, requesting local authorities act promptly to repair the damage caused by the fire, and help settle those affected so they can prepare for the upcoming Tết (Lunar New Year).
He also asked authorities to investigate and discover the cause of the fire, and strictly deal with fire fighting and control violations. The message stressed the need to enhance security, traffic safety and fire control in the locality.
In 2014, Khánh Hoà People’s Committee faced objections from residents when it announced that it would clear and acquire land for a company to develop a five-star hotel complex project on the islet.
By the end of last year, the province had decided to change the plan by expanding the roads connecting to the islet instead of developing the hotel project.
Nhất Trí Islet is home to 1,400 households and has more than 7,000 residents. — VNS