At least 52 firefighters have been hospitalized after inhaling noxious fumes when they tried to put out a fire on a cargo ship docking in Hai Phong City late last week.
According to media reports, 300 firefighters have been sent to the Nam Hai Port on November 27 to control the fire, which was spreading on the Contship ACE.
The ship was carrying 20 containers of phosphorus when it caught fire at around 5 p.m.
Le Quoc Tran, director of the Hai Phong Firefighting Department, said many responders had to wear cotton face masks due to a lack of specialized gas masks.
Later on the same day, 52 firemen were rushed to hospital after showing symptoms of breathing and hearing difficulties.
Among them, 45 were admitted to Hai Phong Medical University Hospital while seven others, with more serious symptoms, were transferred to Viet Tiep Hospital.
Initial investigation found a container was dropped while being unloaded from the ship. The phosphorus ignited and caused the fire.
Firemen had to unload all the burning containers from the ship. The fire was only extinguished after five hours.
Hai Phong vice mayor Nguyen Xuan Binh visited the firefighters on Monday. He said the city will buy more protection gears for their department.