Vietnam gas station ablaze, 12 injured

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Firemen trying to extinguish the fire at the gasoline station No. 9 of the Military Petroleum Corporation on Hanoi's Tran Hung Dao Street.

At least 12 people have been injured in a fire that raged for hours at a gas station belonging to the military in downtown Hanoi before being put out minutes ago.

The fire has also destroyed several houses and forced the evacuation of many people in the vicinity.

The injured include three employees at the station and three motorists who were refilling their vehicles, the Dan Viet online newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, six firefighters were burned while attempting to extinguish the blaze and have been admitted to the nearby 108 Military Hospital.

A tanker filling gasoline at station No. 9 of the Military Petroleum Corporation (Mipecorp) on Tran Hung Dao Street in Hoan Kiem District caught fire at around 1:30 p.m.

According to Tuoi Tre, gasoline had leaked from the truck and flowed to a café and motorbike repair shop more than 30 meters away. The fire broke out there and quickly spread to the truck, it said.

Witnesses said they heard a loud explosion in the tanker before the fire broke out.

A taskforce of around 1,000 people, including firemen, soldiers, police and militiamen were mobilized to the site to extinguish the fire.

Major General Nguyen Duc Nghi, director of the Hanoi Firefighting Police Department and his deputy To Xuan Kieu were at the scene, directing the firefighting operations.  

Police had to evacuate many people from nearby houses.

The station is located near the 108 Military Hospital and the Huu Nghi Hospital.

The fire was almost extinguished at around 4 p.m. but broke out again soon after in the tanker.

At least four houses, a car and a dozen parked motorbikes were burnt.

The firemen have worried that the fire has spread to the station's underground tanks that contain tens of thousands of liters of gasoline.

Maj. Gen. Nghi said there were 30,000 liters of gasoline in the tanker and another 75,000 liters in the station's tanks.

The firemen had mixed fire extinguishing foam and water to pump into the fire, he said.

Nghi also said gasoline from the truck has leaked into nearby sewers and warned the fire could break out again. "We are coordinating with relevant agencies to prevent possible fire through the sewers," he said.

The fire at the station was extinguished at around 6:15 p.m. Police said they would investigate the accident very soon.

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