Rash of vehicular fires remains a mystery: ministry

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Police are struggling to pinpoint what has caused the explosive fires that have recently plagued cars and motorbikes in Vietnam, the Ministry of Public Security said.

In a letter responding to Thanh Nien's questioning the ministry's delay in resolving the cases, Pham Van Sinh, deputy chief of the ministry's office, said in many cases, vehicle owners did not report incidents to police or reported them tardily, making it hard for police to launch initial measures to determine the causes of such blazes.

Investigations into vehicular fires and explosions are inherently highly technical and to solve such incidents requires the cooperation of multiple agencies, according to Sinh.

"Therefore, we need time for experts to conduct analysis," he stressed.

Sinh said the ministry has ordered its office to cooperate with relevant agencies and the local governments to track and compile statistics on vehicular fires, as well as to issue warnings about preventative safety measures.

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It has also asked police to rigorously inspect the causes of cases that have yet to be clarified, especially those containing "signs of criminality," the official said.

In fact, on Thursday police in the northern province of Bac Ninh launched a criminal investigation into the motorbike explosion that killed a mother and a daughter on December 1. They said they detected signs of  criminal activity, but refused to elaborate.

According to the latest ministry statistics, 18 fires and explosions of motorbikes have taken place across the country this year, and that they were not exclusive to any particular brand, but had occurred in various makes of Honda, SYM, and BMW.

In related news, a motorbike caught fire Thursday while running in District 9, Ho Chi Minh City, police told Thanh Nien Friday.

The bike was only slightly burned, thanks to locals' efforts to extinguish the blaze, but its rider had to be rushed to a hospital with burns on his arms and legs, according to police.

The case, like so many other similar ones, is still under investigation.

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