Hanoi apartment building caught in weekend blaze lacked fire alarm system: police

By H.An - A.Dan - M.Hoang, Thanh Nien News

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The blaze destroys more than 300 motorbikes, 50 bicycles and parts of a car  Photo: A. Dan The blaze destroys more than 300 motorbikes, 50 bicycles and parts of a car Photo: A. Dan

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A blaze at an apartment building in Hanoi on Sunday night that injured six people and destroyed more than 300 motorbikes was probably caused by a short circuit, its managers said.
The fire erupted in the basement of the CT4A apartment block, located in the Xa La urban area in Ha Dong District, at around 8 p.m. on Sunday, following some explosions and a sudden blackout, residents said.
The flames then spread to the upper floors of the 34-story building and the basement of a nearby apartment block, sending thousands of residents fleeing in terror.
Firefighters brought the fire under control at 9:30 p.m. They also brought all the trapped residents to safety.
Three residents were rushed to a nearby hospital for smoke inhalation. Three firefighters were also taken to the hospital as they became exhausted during rescue work.
The blaze destroyed more than 300 motorbikes, 50 bicycles and parts of a car, according to the authorities.
The apartment building’s management board believed a short circuit in the substation in the basement had caused the fire, adding that it spread to the upper floors through electric wires.
The authorities are still investigating. 
Nguyen Van Son, deputy director of the Hanoi Firefighting Police Department, said the apartment building’s investor, Lai Chau Private Construction Enterprise No.1, must be held responsible for the fire.
He said his agency inspected the building last November and found some violations, notable a lack of a fire alarm system and a smoke control system.
Though the agency ordered the investor to install these systems, nothing was done, Son told media on Monday afternoon.
“If the systems had been installed, there could have been better chances to reduce the damage," said Son.

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