Residents at some old and deteriorating apartment buildings in Ho Chi Minh City have voiced their concern over poor-quality firefighting systems in their accommodations.
Tan Minh, a 52-year-old resident growing up at an apartment building in District 10, said he saw only three fire extinguishers placed on the ground floor of the building. They will be used for six apartment blocks.
He and many other residents have no idea what to do if a fire breaks out at their apartment building.
Some residents recalled that whenever they discover smoke or a fire, they shout loudly to inform others of the incidents as there is no fire alarm system.
At another old apartment building on Ly Thuong Kiet Street in Tan Binh District, Quynh Trang, 28, said her family lives in fear of fires.
The building was built before 1975, so it has been seriously deteriorating with an interlacing system of electric wires.
They have seen sparks on the electric wires several times, thus they feel unsafe.
Earlier, each floor of the apartment building was equipped with six fire extinguishers. However, most residents can now see three on the ground floor and do not know where the remaining ones are.
T., living in an apartment block in Thu Duc City, said she has kept a close watch on news reports about the inferno in Thanh Xuan District, Hanoi on Tuesday night.
“The consequences are serious," T. said.
“Our apartment block has just been put into use. There has been no fire since I moved here, so I pay no attention to the firefighting system.
“The apartment building’s basement for vehicle parking is narrow. After the blaze in Hanoi, I will pay more attention to cooking and electricity and heat sources."
The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee has issued a fiat asking Thu Duc City and all districts to review and assess the fire safety at all boarding houses and apartment buildings citywide before October 30.
The city will suspend the operation of buildings whose owners violate fire prevention and fighting regulations.
In reality, many boarding houses and apartment blocks are located in narrow alleys and fail to meet fire prevention and fighting requirements.
Residents renting these facilities remain heedless when charging mobile phones and electric vehicles overnight, according to the municipal fire prevention and fighting and rescue police.
A conflagration at an apartment block down a narrow alley on Khuong Ha Street in Thanh Xuan District, Hanoi on Tuesday night killed 56 people and injured 37 others.
The Ministry of Public Security on Wednesday prompted firefighting and rescue police agencies in all provinces and cities across the country to review and inspect the compliance with fire prevention and fighting regulations at apartment blocks and boarding houses following the incident.
Meanwhile, the Hanoi People’s Committee required suspending all cultural, sports, and entertainment activities until Sunday in order to hold memorial services for those who perished in the city’s deadliest fire on record.
The municipal administration also asked the city’s departments and all-level agencies to concurrently pay silent tributes to those who lost their lives in the inferno at 8:00 am on Monday next week.