Hanoi faces karaoke fire risks

Up to 787 out of 988 karaoke bars and clubs in Hanoi do not meet fire safety requirements, according to the Hanoi Fire Safety and Rescue.


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239 facilities were issued certificates on fire safety and 632 facilities were recorded to have met fire safety requirements. But reports from Hanoi Fire Safety and Rescue after a recent field survey showed that only 201 facilities met the requirements, and about 80% of the surveyed facilities failed to meet fire safety standards.

According to Circular 47 on fire safety and fire-fighting at night clubs and karaoke parlours, the walls, roofs of exit routes and decorations must be fire resistant and sign boards must not cover the whole building and block the exits.

However, most karaoke bars in Vietnam are converted from residential houses. They are often small and only have one staircase. Some owners even destroy the exit to the roof so that they can have more space.

As the results, Hanoi has had six karaoke fires since early this year. On September 17, a fire in Cau Giay District nearly burnt down an eight-storey karaoke parlour. Luckily no one was hurt.

13 people were killed, 11 of them were government employees, after a fire broke out at a karaoke parlour on Tran Thai Tong Street and spread to three nearby buildings on November 1.

The karaoke bar lacked a business licence for failing to meet fire safety standards and had been warned numerous times. It is reported that the karaoke bar was under repair on that day and welding work on the sign board sparked the fire.

On November 2, Hanoi Police Department said they would prosecute the case.

"Fire risks at crowded entertainment spots are becoming more severe. People should know survival skills to save themselves and others in emergency cases," said Major General Doan Viet Manh, head of the Fire and Rescue Police Department.

Lieutenant Colonel Bui Quang Viet, deputy head of the Fire and Rescue Police Department said firefighters had faced many difficulties because the buildings were often completely covered by huge signboards.

"We have directed agencies to inspect all entertainment services like karaoke bars and dance clubs after the fire on November 1," Viet said.

He went on to say employees at karaoke bars must be trained on fire safety and rescue. Customers should observe the surroundings for exit routes in case any fire breaks out.


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