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Wood-processing factories face fire risks during dry season

As many as 12 industrial fires have occurred at wood processing factories in HCM City and the neighbouring province of Binh Duong this year, causing major losses of tens billion of Vietnamese dong and hundreds of jobs.

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A fire-prevention inspection at a factory at Viet Huong Industrial Park in Binh Duong Province’s Thuan An District. — VNS File Photo Ngoc Khoa

HCM City and the southern province of Binh Duong are in the dry season when factories, including garment, footwear, food processing and wood-processing factories, encounter fire risks.

According to the Binh Duong Police’s Fire Prevention, Fighting and Rescue Division (PC07), the wood processing factories discharge large volumes of sawdust which can cause fires.

Most of the outdated production and processing lines at the wood processing factories are hindering fire prevention and fire fighting activities, said a spokesman for Binh Duong Police’s Fire Prevention, Fighting and Rescue Division.

A fire that broke out on January 22 at the paint warehouse of the Wanek Furniture Company Ltd in Binh Duong Province’s Thu Dau Mot Town destroyed a 2,000sq.m warehouse.

Two days earlier, another fire destroyed a wood-processing factory located on National Highway No 50 in HCM City’s Binh Chanh District.

In the first two months of this year, six fires were reported in Binh Duong Province, three of which occurred at wood-processing factories, causing damages of nearly VND20 billion (about US$900,000), according to Binh Duong Fire Combating police force.

Lack of awareness about the importance of following fire prevention and fighting regulations is the main reason behind fire risks, the force said.

To minimise fire risks, a number of agencies in Binh Duong have launched a fire prevention and combating training course for employees at production and processing factories located in residential areas in Binh Duong.

The Binh Duong Fire Combating Police Division has also checked fire prevention and safety measures at 1,125 factories and workshops, and has imposed fines of over VND1.5 billion (nearly US$65,000) on 154 violators of fire prevention regulations.

Binh Duong firefighers have helped extinguish six fires, saving properties worth about VND60 billion (nearly US$2.6 million) this year.

A spokesman for the fire combating force said that businesses had not strictly followed regulations because of the weak collaboration between district and ward authorities and management boards of the industrial parks in Binh Duong Province.

Fire prevention agencies are permitted to conduct a maximum of four fire inspections per year at a big company, and only once a year at small firms, he said. — VNS

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