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Woman suffers serious burns in Ho Chi Minh City power station blast

Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 15:29 GMT+7

A woman has been injured in an explosion at an electrical substation in Ho Chi Minh City, sparking fears over the safety of the equipment in use.

Tran Quoc Thanh Nha, 33, of Binh Tan District, was still being treated for burns across her face and body at the Trung Vuong Hospital on Tuesday.

Her injuries, which are most serious on her face, arms, and legs, were caused by a power substation explosion on Le Trong Tan Street in Binh Tan on Friday last week.

According to the victim, she was riding her motorbike to look for a photocopy shop when the substation in front of 681 Le Trong Tan blew up.

“As I felt a burning sensation on my face and limbs, I asked local residents for some water to apply to the wounds,” Nha recalled.

She was later taken to the hospital as her condition quickly deteriorated.

“Luckily I was wearing a helmet, jacket, and gauze mask; otherwise my injuries would have been much worse,” she said.

According to Nguyen Van Vinh, Nha’s husband, two employees from Binh Phu Power, the company that operates the substation, have been paying her regular visits.

Another staffer was also asked to stay at the infirmary to help Vinh look after his wife.

“I don’t understand why the electrical substation would explode," Vinh said, before expressing worries at the fact that "there are many of these on the city’s streets, posing a threat to citizens."

According to the observation of Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters on Tuesday afternoon, the substation has already been replaced by a new one.

Local residents confirmed that the device had not shown any signs of danger prior to the blast.

A woman sells her stuff next to a substation in Hanoi.

Preventive measures

Hoang Tuan Vinh, deputy director of Binh Phu Power, attributed the accident to an oil leak at one of the three electrical transformers installed at the station.

The company leader confirmed that the facility had operated normally before the incident, and monthly inspections had been carried out as per procedure.

Regarding compensation, the firm will pay all of Nha’s medical bills, with further consideration to be made after negotiating with the victim’s family.

According to Pham Quoc Bao, deputy general director of the Ho Chi Minh City Power Corporation (EVN HCMC), the explosion is a rare case given the tens of thousands of substation installed across the city.

These stations will often operate at 60 percent of their capacity, Bao said, adding that an oil leak could only occur if they work at over 80 percent.

Protocols must be followed to prevent similar accident from happening, while maintenance and evaluation must be carried out every month.

This image is commonplace in Vietnam.

Another official from EVN HCMC said the corporation had sent a team of technicians to work with Binh Phu Power.

“Any violations regarding the operation and maintenance of any substation will be penalized,” he said.

On November 17, 2016, a power substation in Ha Dong District, Hanoi exploded, killing one person and injuring four others.

Another blast caused by lightning occurred at a station in District 10, Ho Chi Minh City on September 20, 2016, resulting in power loss across the local neighborhood.

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