On the night of September 12 and early morning of September 13, a terrible fire occurred in a 9-storey flat building, inside alley 70, Khuong Ha street, Thanh Xuan district, Hanoi.
According to some domestic newspapers, by the end of September 13, the number of people killed in this flat fire was 56 people. An extremely painful result for the victims and their relatives. However, some newspapers later withdrew this news.
It is unclear how many similar disasters occurred in the past. Last year, there were two consecutive fires at karaoke bars, one in Hanoi and one in Binh Duong. The fire in Hanoi occurred in early August 2022, killing 3 fire fighters of the Hanoi City Police. One month later, there was a fire at a Karaoke shop in Binh Duong. This fire had more disastrous consequences than the one in Hanoi, killing 33 people.
After these two fires, local authorities urged strict fire prevention inspections at Karaoke bars. However, whether there is a strict inspection or not, whether there is an inspection and thorough dismantling of places that violate fire safety, that is another matter. In Vietnam, irresponsible work is a common mentality among both people and state officials. The officials accepted money to let things go. Therefore, it will be difficult to rectify the problem of fire prevention and fighting in Vietnam.
In 2018, the Carina Plaza apartment building at 1648, Vo Van Kiet Avenue, Ward 16, District 8, Ho Chi Minh City caught fire. This fire killed 13 people, including the Chairman of Nguyen Thai Binh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Then in 2016, a fire broke out at a karaoke bar at 68 Tran Thai Tong, Hanoi, killing 13 people. Among them are mainly red seeds, officials in the government apparatus waiting for being promoted.
In general, after every fire disaster, Vietnam calls for tightening fire prevention and fighting. However, despite the reports, whether the goal was accomplished or the mission was completed, the fire still occurred. Fire prevention work is still as sketchy as before.
Talking about the causes of fires, an anonymous construction business owner in Ho Chi Minh City told us that the main causes come from 4 reasons: Poor urban planning, bad fire prevention management, corruption and low awareness of apartment building businesses, as well as the awareness of Vietnamese people. Because of fear of cost, they ignore this important issue.
Regarding planning, the government did not manage it well, allowing many houses to spontaneously grow; planning of alleys and alleys does not meet standards; The road is narrow and winding, preventing firefighting vehicles from accessing.
Not only were they given up to spontaneous development, but even large areas that were clearly planned were destroyed by the government. Take Hanoi as a typical example under Mr. Nguyen The Thao, which allowed high-rise buildings to grow close together, leaving no public space, no space for the city to construct underground systems, and of course, if a fire occurs, firefighting forces will face difficult to access.
The second problem is that both contractors and investors, when building apartments, often only invest in fire prevention and fighting for reactive purposes.
A construction business owner told us that he was constructing a primary school in Nha Be, a project with a very carefully designed fire protection system. Each classroom has a fire extinguishing system mounted right on the ceiling. When the temperature reaches 80 degrees Celsius, the spray head automatically sprays water. In addition, smoke detectors are also installed in each classroom. However, the design is so neat, but the equipment is completely Chinese. At the same time, the contractor is a company owned by a family member of a fire prevention boss. During acceptance with the District Fire Department, the results were not satisfactory, but they still nodded to each other and completed the acceptance.
In this case, there is a response from the investor and also corruption from the government. Fortunately, up to now, after 10 years, no fire has occurred in the above mentioned structure. If it happens, it will definitely cause serious damage.
The Carina Plaza apartment fire was similar. The building’s fire protection system did not work, causing a disaster to occur.
The flat fire disaster in Thanh Xuan happened, people just opened the construction permit. Accordingly, the license allowed to build 6 floors, but the government turned a blind eye to the homeowner to build 9 floors. A 9-storey house in a small niche is very risky for fire. This is the case, because the corrupt government caused the disaster.
From planning to management, combined with the fear of cost and having to deal with it, plus the corruption that turns a blind eye to homeowners who build illegally, have turned Vietnamese houses in narrow and shabby neighborhoods. Even high-rise apartment buildings have become potential “incinerators.” It’s just a matter of fire prevention and fighting, but it can be said that the Communist government’s capacity cannot do it.
Minh Vu – Thoibao.de