Hanoi withdraws contamination warning after warehouse fire

By Vo Hai, Tat Dinh   August 30, 2019 | 08:00 pm GMT+7
Hanoi withdraws contamination warning after warehouse fire
Inspectors from Hanoi's Department of Natural Resources and Environment check the air quality near the Rang Dong light bulb warehouse fire, August 30, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Chinh.

A food contamination risk warning issued Thursday in Hanoi following a fire at a light bulb warehouse has been retracted by authorities.

They said it had been issued "without rightful authorization" and there was "insufficient evidence to support it."

The notice has been withdrawn by the Ha Dinh Ward People’s Committee, which had issued it, Vuong Thi Van Khanh, chief of staff of the Thanh Xuan District People’s Committee, said on Friday.

The burned warehouse is in Thanh Xuan Trung Ward next to Ha Dinh Ward, Thanh Xuan District.

Hanoi's Department of Natural Resources and Environment said its tests on water, air and soil around the warehouse on Friday have found nothing unusual.

Quick tests by the Institute of Occupational Health and the Environment from the Ministry of Health also showed that the lead, mercury and heavy metal levels in the area are within safe limits, the institute said.

On Wednesday a five-hour blaze destroyed a third of the stocks at a 6,000-square-meter warehouse belonging to the Rang Dong Light Source and Vacuum Flask Joint Stock Company in Ha Dinh Ward, Thanh Xuan District. The stocks included light bulbs.

A warning was issued on Thursday telling people not to consume vegetables, fruits or meat sold within a one-kilometer radius of the warehouse due to food contamination risks.

Vegetables and fruits grown within a 500m radius of the fire must be destroyed, and children and sick and senior people need to be evacuated for 1-10 days, it said further.

But locals carried on with their lives as usual, with food stalls still open and people not wearing masks.

Life goes on outside Rang Dong light bulb warehouse (L) in Hanoi, August 30, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.

Life goes on outside Rang Dong light bulb warehouse (L) in Hanoi, August 30, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.

"The first day I couldn’t breathe, but for the last few days it rained, so the situation is much more bearable," 67-year-old Dong Thi Lien said.

"I knew about [the notice] from newspapers, but I have not received any official announcement from the ward."

Rang Dong said in a statement on Friday that their products were made of materials that would not cause danger to people when burned.

The company estimated the loss at VN150 billion ($6.4 million).

 
 
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