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Hà Nội apartment builders ignore fire safety

Update: December, 07/2018 - 05:00
A firefighting drill being carried out at the apartment building on Lò Đúc Street in Hà Nội. More than 60 blazes reportedly occurred in apartment and high-rise buildings in the city since early this year. — VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — A total 287 apartment buildings and high-rise buildings in Hà Nội have been reported for violating regulations on fire prevention and control.

Statistics from the city’s Department of Fire Fighting and Prevention Police show the city now has 1,109 apartment and high-rise buildings.

According to Hà Nội’s Inspectorate Department, most of the violating buildings were very slow in fixing their problems, Hà Nội Mới (New Hà Nội) newspaper reported.

For example, the department has discovered 24 apartment buildings in the city that are below standards on fire prevention and control since April. But only four buildings have been fixed so far, the department said.


A specialist in construction design said the cost to complete a fire protection system accounted for about 2 per cent of the project’s total capital investment. So, for a medium-size apartment building, the cost is estimated to be about VNĐ15-20 billion (US$642,500-857,000).

A current sanction for violating regulations on fire prevention and control in investment and construction is only about VNĐ10-30 million ($428-1,286) under Decree 52/2012/NĐ-CP. The amount is too small to deter violators, he said.

Another problem is that some apartment buildings failed to maintain their fire prevention and control systems.

Major General Hoàng Quốc Định, deputy head of the city’s Police Department said this was because investors often find ways to temporarily satisfy safety regulations.


In response to the situation, the city’s police department has launched a plan called ‘General inspection of fire prevention, control and rescue in the city 2018’.

Lieutenant Colonel Phạm Trung Hiếu, head of the Fire Prevention and Control Police Office said the plan aimed to accelerate a project to improve effectiveness of the State management of fire prevention and control for apartment and high-rise buildings.

Under the plan, inter-sectoral inspections would be conducted more often, he said.

Inspectors also plan to tighten inspections on the responsibilities of investors of apartment and high-rise buildings, he added.

Major General Định, deputy head of the city’s Police Department, said the most important factor was effective co-operation among relevant agencies to fix the situation.

Police would suspend constructions of apartment or high-rise buildings that were constructed without fire prevention and control certification, he said.

If investors deliberately ignored requirements from agencies, police would take coercive measures and handle the situation according to the law, he said.

Over 60 fires

Data from the fire prevention and control police office showed more than 60 blazes have occurred in apartment and high-rise buildings in the city since early this year. Although there were no casualties, residents suffered from panic and property damage.

For example, a fire occurred at 1pm in an apartment at the 31st floor in Linh Đàm Apartment Complex, Hoàng Mai District, on October 12, causing hundreds of people to panic. The fire was caused by a short circuiting washing machine.

Previously, another blaze hit an 18th-floor apartment in Fodacon Apartment Building at 4:50pm in Trần Phú Street, Hà Đông District on May 25. The police had to dispatch 15 fire engines and take more than three hours to control the blaze. Hundreds people flocked into the streets in fear.

According to the police, the building management board was fined VNĐ1.6 million ($68) for its substandard fire alarm system in April. — VNS


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