Viet Nam News
CẦN THƠ — Some 200 firefighters from the Mekong Delta city of Cần Thơ and seven neighbouring provinces and cities worked themselves into exhaustion to extinguish a fire that broke out last week at a Taiwanese garment factory.
Trần Đức Đình, deputy director of the city’s Fire Prevention and Fighting Police Department, told Vietnamnet that this is the biggest fire that ever occurred in the city.
The fire started last Thursday morning on the top floor of a five-storey building inside the Trà Nóc Industrial Park where the garment firm Kwong Lung-Meko stores fabric. By Thursday evening it was under control, but flared up twice, last Friday and Sunday, and was completely extinguished by yesterday morning.
The fire was so big that the firefighters did not have time to eat and rest, Việt Nam Television (VTV) reported. They couldn’t have done their job without the food and water brought by local citizens, the firefighters were reported as saying.
Trần Văn Hải, a resident living near the fire scene, was reported by VTV to have given dumplings, bread and iced tea to every single firefighter several times.
“I might spend the day selling food and drink and make some VNĐ100-200,000 (US$4-9),” he said. “But I chose to do [this] to help fire fighters maintain their health.”
Several firefighters vomited and fainted due to asphyxiation and smoke poisoning despite having worn masks, Vietnamnet reported. Some sustained burns and were treated at the site.
Many firefighters were reported to be resting and eating by the walls of the buildings near the fire scene. Four fire trucks and hundreds of firefighters were reported by the Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper to be spraying water on the 5th floor of the Kwong Lung Meko Company, when the fire re-ignited on Sunday evening. Hot weather was identified as the factor fanning the smoldering fire, the newspaper reported.
Resident Phạm Thị Dung said that she and other local residents halted their workdays to help prepare food and water for fire fighters.
“Seeing firefighters rush into the fire made me worry so much. Their job is too dangerous,” she said.
People living in Cần Thơ City’s Residential Block 586 cooked meals and packed them into plastic boxes to deliver to firefighters after seeing them eat dry bread.
“We made some soup for them. They worked so hard,” said a woman named Yến, who is a member of voluntary group from Residential Block 586.
Meanwhile, a member of the Hậu Giang Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company carried dozens of big water bottles and vitamin tablets and 300 medical boxes to aid exhausted firefighters.
Young volunteers delivered fruit and water. As soon as the fire was extinguished, they went back to clean up and help people carry things home.
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc yesterday ordered the Ministry of Public Security to investigate the cause of the fire and examine areas with high risk of fire to avoid similar accidents.
No casualties were reported, but Lê Thành Dũng, deputy director of the Kwong Lung Meko Company, told the newspaper property damage is estimated at some US$6 million, not including damage to equipment and facilities.
Kwong Lung–Meko specialises in feather processing and garment production. Its factory covers about 17,000sq.m and has more than 1,300 workers in the Trà Nóc Industrial Zone, about 15km from downtown Cần Thơ. — VNS