Many traditional markets in cities in the central region do not meet several fire prevention and control requirements and are thus at high risk of fires, officials warn.
The warning comes after two recent fires, one at the biggest market in Quang Ngai province on February 9 and the other at the Dong Hoi market in Quang Binh Province on April 2.
The work of clearing up burned areas was being carried out on Tuesday at the Dong Hoi market, which receives around 7,000 customers every day. Many fruit stalls have been asked to close until the work is finished.
Many traders complained that the market management board had closed one exit so that a nearby area could be leased to other traders.
A large tank outside the market meant to help fight fires has also been occupied by other traders selling plastic products.
In addition to blocking exits, the management board has also allowed traders to expand their stalls, narrowing the pathways in the market and reducing accessibility for firefighters.
Worse till, at the Ga market in Dong Hoi City, the second largest market in Quang Binh Province, the space earmarked for fire extinguishers has also been occupied by traders with the market management board looking the other way.
According to the Quang Binh Fire Prevention and Control Department, the province has more than 100 small and big markets, all of which are at high risk of fires and difficult to access by fire fighting forces.
One main reason for the risk is that electrical systems at the market are too old and damaged to meet fire safety standards, the department says.
The Son Trach market in Bo Trach District, which suffered a serious fire several years ago, has a chaotic electrical system even after it was renovated.
Nguyen Khoa Hoai Huong, head of the Dong Ba market management board in Hue City, conceded the high risk of fire because of a deteriorating electrical system and low sense of responsibility for fire prevention and control among traders.
At the Ba Don market in Quang Trach District, the situation is worse as many fire extinguishers are too old and several have been stolen.
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