A fire that lasted for nearly five hours at the Hai Duong Trade Center in northern Hai Duong City on Sunday morning did not cause causalities but caused a total material loss of VND500 billion (US$23.6 million).
Of the amount, VND400 billion came from burnt goods from more than 500 traders, and the remainder was damage to the infrastructure of the center, located at 2 Thanh Nhat Street, local authorities said. After the fire department received a report about the fire at 3:25 am, it mobilized seven fire engines, two pumps, two water supply trucks, and 85 firefighters to extinguish the blaze, said Colonel Pham Van Loan, deputy director of the Hai Duong Province Police. Local authorities later mobilized nine more fire engines from neighboring Hung Yen and Quang Ninh provinces, he said. The fire may have been caused by a short circuit at a fabric stall on the first floor of the center. After the fire broke out, the center’s six security guards tried to put out the fire, but they failed and then called the Hai Duong city fire brigade, said Colonel Loan. As a consequence, by the time professional firefighters arrived, the fire had spread widely and it took them five hours to put out the blaze, he added. Some traders at the center said the fire broke out a 2 am and spread rapidly.Support At a meeting held yesterday afternoon regarding the fire, the Provincial People’s Committee head, Nguyen Manh Hien, said the authorities will provide VND10 million (US$480) as initial support to each effected trader. The government of the city of Hai Duong also offered VND3 million to each affected trader. Hien asked banks, tax authorities and other relevant agencies to apply the best policy to all victims of the fire to help them overcome difficulties. Specifically, every victim should be exempted from all taxes and fees for a period of one-three years. School tuition and other charges should also be exempted for a period of two years for the children of the victims of the fire. In addition, every student at vocational high schools, colleges and universities who is a child of an affected trader will be given a support package of VND3 million, Hien said. He also asked concerned agencies to build a makeshift market behind Thong Nhat Square, in front of the burned center to meet demand from local residents.