A container truck loaded with chemicals exploded at around 8.30pm, yesterday, in Binh Chanh District's Industrial Zone sparking an inferno that swallowed neighboring buildings, authorities said.
No fatalities were reported at the Tan Hung Thai headquarters, but 15 firemen were hospitalized due to smoke and chemical inhalation. More than one thousand square meters of chemical storage (and other facilities) were swallowed by the flames, inspectors reported.
The Le Minh Xuan industrial zone’s management office had been completely engulfed in flames by the time fire crews arrived half an hour after the fire broke out, witness said. A white chemical foam of unknown composition covered the scene along with bits of broken glass.
Flames spread to a chemical storage the company's chemical storage and a nearby garage.
More than 30 kinds of chemicals, most of them poisonous and highly flammable, were stocked in the warehouse making the fire difficult to quash.
200 firemen from 3 firefighter units (Binh Chanh District, Binh Tan District and the industrial zone’s firefighter unit) were mobilized to the site on 30 fire engines.
According to Colonel Le Tan Buu, Vice Director of the City Firefighter department who was in command at the site, the force had to use a special chemical flame retardant to put the wrest control over the fierce flames.
At 3am this morning, following an 8 hour battle, the flames were finally put out.
Aside from the 15 firemen hospitalized with burns, chemical exposure and smoke inhalation, others required first aid due to light contact with the chemicals.
The men were treated at Binh Chanh hospital, which mobilized an ambulance to the site.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.