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Doan Ngoc Hai Returns to Saigon Streets With Another Crusade, This Time Against Poor Fire Prevention

Will history repeat itself?

On March 28th, Doan Ngoc Hai – District 1’s vice chairman who was behind last year's controversial sidewalk-clearing campaign – led a fire safety inspection team to several apartment buildings in Saigon that were built before 1975, VnExpress reports.

During the inspection, the team found that many garages do not comply with fire safety regulations and their entrances are either blocked or filled with many flammable objects. The fire extinguishing systems in almost all of the inspected buildings were defunct. Most emergency exits were also blocked by objects or have been appropriated into living places.

An apartment building at 14 Nguyen Thi Nghia Street is an example. Hai's team found many obstacles like canvas awnings, tables, shelves and even hủ tiếu carts blocking the path into the apartment. Hai ordered for them to be removed. Another apartment at 26 Ly Tu Trong Street had the same problem.

In the wake of the deadly Carina Plaza fire, several districts in Saigon have performed fire safety inspections in old buildings. The vice-chairman's move aligns with these efforts.

However, Hai’s tactics remain coercive. During the inspection, he and his team reportedly resorted to brute force to remove objects. “We can’t let deadly fires and explosions happen just because of our empathy for some poor households; who will be responsible if that happens?" said Hai, according to the news source.

Although a thorough campaign to promote fire prevention in Saigon has been long overdue, some contend that abusing residents of poor neighborhoods may not be an effective solution, just as the previous sidewalk-clearing campaign showed.

[Photo via Zing]

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