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Ha Noi bar fire leads to nationwide checks

Update: November, 22/2013 - 08:43

he Department of Fire Fighting and Prevention Police will inspect all bars and dance halls throughout the country to ensure they are safe from fires.— File Photo

HA NOI (VNS) — The Department of Fire Fighting and Prevention Police will inspect all bars and dance halls throughout the country to ensure they are safe from fires.

The move follows Tuesday's blaze at a bar in Hai Ba Trung District's Tran Thanh Tong street which killed six people and injured 13 others, the department director, Doan Viet Manh, told Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper.

At the time of the fire, the bar was being repaired when an explosion and ensuing fire occurred, allegedly caused by the carelessness of welders.

"The blaze was not big, but a lack of attention, awareness and a slow warning led to such a number of fatalities. When the fire occurred, poisonous smoke filled the area and people died as a result of suffocation within a short period of time," Manh said.

In this case, the dead victims were all welders who should have been equipped with both professional, fire fighting and prevention skills, he said.

Vice Chairman of Hai Ba Trung District Lam Anh Tuan also confirmed that the bar had not been licensed for repairs.

In a related move, Ha Noi Police yesterday decided to place four people in temporary detention pending further investigations, including the owner of a mechanics shop, which was in charge of repairing the bar, along with three self-employed workers who were present when the fire occurred.

Meanwhile, the head of Ha Noi's Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Department's Work Safety and Hygiene Office, Bach Quoc Viet, said this was the most serious case of labour safety violations in Ha Noi this year.

Particularly because six people who died in the incident were labourers from other provinces or suburban districts of Ha Noi.

"Their employers had not paid attention to providing them with training in basic labour safety and hygiene skills. This is an important reason leading to the incident," he said.

"The labourers did not abide by labour safety regulations. When the fire occurred, they did not have skills to cope with the situation and died of smoke suffocation," he added. At present, the department does not keep track of the number of self employed workers in the city, and there is no official agency in charge of managing and training this group of labourers, Viet noted.

"Even current regulations do not cover them," he said. However, he admitted that unstable work and living conditions made it difficult to manage them.

"The department will soon study about possibly proposing regulations on improving management of this group of workers in the city," he added. Ha Noi People's Committee will provide each victim with VND 3 million (US$142) in aid. — VNS

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