Army decontaminates Hanoi light bulb warehouse site following fire

By Ngoc Thanh, Tat Dinh, Vo Hai   September 12, 2019 | 09:01 pm GMT+7

Over 130 members of a multi-task party comprising both army and civilian institutions were dispatched Thursday to decontaminate the Rang Dong factory warehouse site.

Military vehicles come to the Rang Dong warehouse from 8 am to prepare for decontamination.

Military vehicles arrived at the Rang Dong warehouse at around 8 a.m. to prepare for the decontamination.

The five-hour blaze that started at 6 p.m. on August 28 destroyed a third of the inventory at the 6,000-square-meter warehouse belonging to the Rang Dong Light Source and Vacuum Flask JSC. The area within a 500-meter radius of the warehouse has been contaminated with mercury, authorities said.

Before decontaminating the site, personnel must spray water onto half-burnt materials and the storage area to prevent dust and iron particles laced with mercury from spreading. It also serves to lower the surrounding environments temperature as mercury would turn into gas at 30 degrees Celsius or above.

Before decontaminating the site, water had to be sprayed on half-burnt materials and the storage area to prevent dust and iron particles laced with mercury from spreading. The watering also served to lower the surrounding environment's temperature, as mercury would turn into gas at 30 degrees Celsius or above.

Light bulbs and other materials are left behind in the warehouse about two weeks after the fire.

The remnants of light bulbs and other materials in the warehouse, about two weeks after the fire. Investigations have revealed that storage procedures were the cause of the fire, but the exact cause is yet to be determined.

Military personnel prepare their gears before entering the warehouse. They would clean up the site, collect the waste and decontaminate the area. As theres so much to clean, it would take quite a while, said Nguyen Van Bong, head of the Search and Rescue Department of the Hanoi Capital High Command.

Military personnel prepare their gears before entering the warehouse. They will clean up the site, collect the waste and decontaminate the area.

"As there's so much to clean, it will take a long time," said Nguyen Van Bong, head of the Search and Rescue Department of the Hanoi Capital High Command.

Two soldiers with masks clean up the two floors of the warehouse and collect waste to be disposed of.

Two soldiers with masks clean up two floors of the warehouse and collect waste to be disposed of.

Numerous light bulbs are either melted or crumpled under the fires heat. About 15.2-27.2 kilograms of mercury were released into the environment following the fire. Much of them were contained inside 480,000 light bulbs in the warehouse. The area within a 500-meter radius of the warehouse was contaminated with mercury, authorities said.

Thousands of light bulbs had melted in the fire, releasing about 15.2-27.2 kilograms of mercury into the environment. It has been reported that 480,000 light bulbs were stored in the warehouse.

An employee of the Urban Environment Company Urenco 10 also helps decontaminate the warehouse.

An employee of the Urban Environment Company Urenco 10 also helps decontaminate the warehouse. A Urenco representative said the cleanup may take 10 days.

An expert from the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology performs environmental analysis

An expert from the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology performs an environmental analysis.

Aerial view of whats left of the Rang Dong warehouse, September 12, 2019.

An aerial view of what's left of the Rang Dong warehouse, September 12, 2019. People living nearby have been moving out of their homes due to health concerns.

The Rang Dong company has estimated the loss from the fire at VN150 billion ($6.4 million).

 
 
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