For want of water, a factory is lost

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A fire burned down 4,000 square meters of a wood processing factory in Ho Chi Minh City Wednesday as there was not water on hand to extinguish it.

There were no casualties but the fire that broke out at about 2 a.m. is estimated to cause damage worth billions of dong.

The factory belongs to My An Production, Commerce and Service Ltd. in Go Vap District.

There was one guard, Nguyen Hong Khanh and another worker, Nguyen Duc Tuan sleeping in the factory that had no water or other firefighting equipment. There were many inflammable materials on the premises like paints, chemicals, cardboard cartons, wood that had been dried or soaked in oil, and a car.

Le Tan Buu, deputy director of HCMC Fire Fighting and Prevention Department, said the guard had used up mini fire extinguishers when a small fire occurred at 7:10 p.m. the previous night.

Authorities suspected ash from this previous fire helped start the latter.

The water pressure in the area was weak and the firefighters had to rush to take water from the nearby Vam Thuat River.

"It is such a large company but there was only one guard and empty fire extinguishers had not been refilled. Fire safety precautions were very bad," Buu said.

Six fire trucks and 47 firefighters were sent to the spot after the Wednesday fire. However, another 17 trucks and 128 fighters had to be mobilized to put out the fire, which they did in about four hours.

Factories belonging to two garment firms and a mechanical firm covering more than 5,000 square meters were saved.

Buu said his department will also punish these neighboring firms as they had also violated fire safety regulations.

Police are estimating damage caused by the fire and investigating further about the cause.

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