A fire extinguisher installed in a sedan suddenly combusted on Saturday while the car was parked in the house of its owner in Tien Giang Province in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, causing minor damage and no casualties.
Ngo Hieu Thuan, residing in Cho Gao District, Tien Giang, confirmed that his four-seater car had been parked in his yard when the extinguisher equipped inside suddenly exploded.
Thuan hurried to his vehicle and found that the explosion had caused the lid of the fire extinguisher to dislodge and its bottom to become distorted while also damaging the door of the car and stereo speaker.
The fire safety equipment was a small extinguisher, which he had purchased two months ago, according to Thuan.
The expiration date is due in 2017, he said, adding that the fire safety device was made in China.
Despite only minor damage, Thuan claimed that he decided to report the case to local police to make a record of the incident.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security on January 6 implemented Circular 57 requiring cars with four seats or more to be equipped with fire prevention and firefighting tools, namely fire extinguishers.
According to the new regulation, owners of vehicles who fail to present the tools or use any outdated product when pulled over by police will be fined between VND300,000 ($13.35) and VND500,000 ($22.25), depending on each case.
Competent authorities have met with opposition from drivers and the public in general, complaining that the rule is unreasonable and impractical.
Several people have expressed their concern about the potential for explosion of these fire extinguishers as temperatures inside vehicles can easily get very high while recommended temperatures for long-term storage are between -10 and 55 degrees Celsius.
When cars are parked in temperatures of 38 degrees Celsius or more for long periods, the atmosphere inside can heat up to 80 degrees Celsius, which may cause the fire extinguishers to blow up, said Nguyen Manh Thang, a member of OtoFun, a reputable automobile forum.
Competent authorities have recently decided that owners of automobiles will not be fined if they do not carry fire extinguishers in their car and said that they are considering many factors before further enforcement.