Millions of dollars lost in Hanoi, HCMC fires

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More than 200 square meters of a warehouse belonging to a Hanoi chemical company was burned down Thursday afternoon, causing damage estimated at more than US$1.5 million.

The fire started at around 2:30 p.m. at the chemical store of Dinh Vang Chemical Company in Ha Dong District. Around 200 casks of industrial glue, five motorbikes and a fork-lift were reduced to ashes.

The fire was contained after two hours.

Vuong Duc Sac, an official of the company, estimated that the fire had caused damage worth more than VND30 billion ($1.58 million).

Hieu, one of the two guards at the store, said "there was a small spark, and then there were explosions from the oil drums, and then the fire broke out.

"I just had enough time to run and phone for help."

The company had a water tank to be used in case of fire but the water level in it was low.

Also on Thursday, fire fighters in Ho Chi Minh City put out a fire at a plastic container making facility in the Tan Tao Industrial Zone at nearly 2 a.m., almost five hours after the fire started.

The fire burnt down nearly 4,000 square meters of the manufacturing and storage facility. No casualty was reported but damage has been estimated at several billion dong.

The fire started in the area where plastic containers for motorbike oil are made. Several dozen tons of products and materials were destroyed.

People around the spot said the water pump couldn't be started at the time and personal fire extinguishers couldn't stop the fire from spreading further because of the presence of highly inflammable substances like plastic powder, paper and oil in machines.

Fire fighters of the industrial zone in Binh Tan District only came to the site 45 minutes after the fire broke out, and they had to call for more help. Around 200 firefighters came from Districts 6, 11 and Tan Phu with more than 20 fire trucks.

Power to the area was cut at 10 p.m. and the firefighters had to use lights from their trucks. The fire around the factory area was stopped at 1 a.m. Thursday morning but the ash and heat has ignited a different fire at the administration area of the company, and it took firefighters more time to put that out.

The iron roof and wall at some parts of the factory generated more heat and made it easier for the fire to spread, officials said. The roof and wall also prevented the fire from being sprayed upon.

Authorities are investigating the cause of both accidents.

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