Authorities of Hanoi’s Thanh Xuan District have requested electric bikes and motorbikes be removed from the parking lots of mini apartments and high-rise houses for rent to prevent fire risks.
At a conference between the Hanoi Party Committee and the city’s districts on Thursday, chairman of the Thanh Xuan District People’s Committee Vo Dang Dung said that following the fire at a mini apartment building on an alley off Khuong Ha Street that killed 56 people on September 12, the district has checked around 90 mini apartments and 1,800 high-rise houses with rooms for rent.
Some buildings can have as many as 8-9 floors and there can be 40-50 people living in them.
For fire safety reasons, the district’s personnel have requested for electric bikes and motorbikes on the first floors of these apartment buildings to be relocated, Dung said.
The deadly fire at the apartment block on Khuong Ha Street has been determined to be caused by a short-circuited petrol motorbike on the first floor.
But no requests have been made regarding petrol motorbikes.
Dung said “It’s good if all of them (electric bikes and motorbikes) can be relocated, otherwise we want to aim for 70-80%,” adding that 90% of fire cases on buildings’ first floors are caused by short circuits. Relocating the vehicles away from the buildings would therefore reduce fire and explosion risks.
However, Dung did not mention where these electric vehicles would end up at, while the number of vehicles being parked in mini apartment buildings is very high. For example, the apartment building that caught fire on Khuong Ha Street had around 90 vehicles of various types parked there.
Dung said citizens at the buildings also did not agree with the request, saying that if they have already rented or bought their apartments, they have the right to keep their vehicles on the first floor.
The district chairman said besides the relocation request, the district has also asked the buildings’ owners to install fire doors to stop the spread of fire and smoke in case of such incidents.
The first floors should be equipped with high-volume fire extinguishers, and staircases leading to the roofs must not be locked. People are advised to prepare rope ladders to escape when needed, he said.
Vo Nguyen Phong, director of Hanoi’s Department of Construction, has requested city and district authorities to instruct investors to prepare enough space for the parking of two-wheeled vehicles. Buildings with several apartments must reorganize their parking spaces to ensure there’s enough space for vehicles. If there is insufficient space, there must be parking options outside the buildings.
Parking areas should also be separated from the staircases, and be isolated with anti-fire, anti-smoke infrastructures, he added.
Bui Huyen Mai, the Thanh Xuan District’s Party Secretary, on Friday said the relocation of electric bikes is merely a suggestion, not an order.
“The district’s stance is to strictly abide by regulations and technical standards regarding fire safety, while not impacting people’s lives,” she said.
Source: Vn Express