Hanoi to crack down on fire prone storefront billboards

By Ngoc Thanh   November 6, 2016 | 09:14 pm GMT+7

In the wake of a deadly karaoke bar fire, Hanoi officials say they plan to crack down on facade-sized advertisements.

It wasn't until an oversized billboard sparked a massive fire at a karaoke bar that Hanoians began considering the dangers of blocking off all front windows with facade-sized signage.

Municipal laws technically require billboards to be free-standing entities, as you can see that's not always how things go.

One official at the Hanoi Culture, Sports and Tourism Department claimed over half the city's real estate is dominated by massive outdoor advertisements.

Several billboards violate the regulation of outdoor advertisement billboards size

Several billboards which violate regulations on outdoor advertisements. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

Messy advertisement billboards are easily seen in Hanoi

Massive facade-sized advertisements dominate the cityscape. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

hanoi-to-crack-down-on-fire-prone-storefront-billboards-2

How ironic: a banner by Hanoi Police saying "Preventing fires and explosions brings joy to all families" hangs in front of a karaoke bar with an oversized billboard. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

“Lax management and light punishments created this situation," said Tran Hung, vice president of the Vietnam Advertising Association. "And the fact that violators were not strictly punished has, in a way, encouraged others to break the law for the sake of making profits."

The blaze that claimed 13 lives has inspired officials to launch a citywide assessment of fire safety conditions in apartment buildings, markets, commercial centers and entertainment facilities.

Small fire that started when a large billboard installed in front of a bar was being fixed. Dry weather and strong winds quickly fuelled the flames, turning it into an inferno.

A small blaze kicked off when a large billboard attached to the front of a bar went up in flames. Dry weather conditions and strong winds quickly fuelled the flames, which killed 13 people. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

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