Fire safety measures are being taken at ancient houses across Hoi An in the face of recent fire incidents that have threatened to destroy the age-old relics.
Officials in the tourist hub in central Vietnam are awaiting approval of their plan to install a VND200 million (US$8,760) firefighting system in Hoi An Ancient Town to respond to fires that may consume the attraction, according to Nguyen Van Son, deputy chairman of Hoi An City’s administration.
Geographically, the ancient town lies within one ward of the city.
Its current, ten-year-old system has become badly degraded, making it difficult to respond in a timely manner to potential fires, Son explained.
In addition to the new firefighting system, the city is also taking measures to improve fire safety in houses that are hundreds of years old and consist of large wooden, flammable sections.
The city has asked owners of these types of houses to never leave their homes unattended, while requiring each household to equip themselves with handheld fire extinguishers to put out small fires before they can spread.
“Recent fires in the ancient town have been attributed to different causes, mostly electricity or incense burning,” Son said.
In 2013, a fire broke out at a bamboo souvenir business on the city’s Tran Phu Street, burning the house to the ground and destroying everything inside.
Last November, a fabric shop on Nguyen Thai Hoc Street caught fire following an electrical short circuit, leading to the store’s complete destruction.
Last Wednesday, another fire started at an unattended house on Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, but was quickly controlled thanks to observant neighbors who alerted fire police.