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Saigon karaoke joint fined $4,600 for failing to meet fire safety standards

By Duy Tran   April 4, 2018 | 11:44 pm PT
'Captain Sidewalk' and his inspectors found the bar had no emergency exits or fire alarms.

A karaoke parlor in Ho Chi Minh City has been slapped with a VND103 million ($4600) fine for violating fire safety regulations.

Inspectors found the Kingdom karaoke bar in District 1's Tan Dinh Ward had violated several fire safety regulations. The joint did not set up emergency exits and the fire alarms did not go off during the inspection on Wednesday.

“People cannot escape a fire without an emergency exit. And even if there were fire exits, they wouldn't know if a fire had broken out without any alarms,” said Doan Ngoc Hai, the district's vice chairman.

Hai, who has been dubbed Captain Sidewalk for leading a sidewalk cleanup campaign in the city last year, went back to the street last week as he led an inspection team to look for possible fire hazards in the wake of a smoky fire that killed 13 people at an apartment building last month, becoming one of the deadliest to ever hit the city.

Captain Sidewalk said he and his team are also dealing with four other restaurants and karaoke bars for violating fire safety regulations.

“If they don’t comply and fix their problems, I will send in forces to do it.” he said.

Doan Ngoc Hai (L) in an inspection looking for fire hazards in Saigon. Photo by VnExpress/Duy Tran

Doan Ngoc Hai (L) in an inspection looking for fire hazards in Saigon. Photo by VnExpress/Duy Tran

Hanoi and HCMC have been stepping up efforts to inspect and tackle fire safety issues.

Hanoi has already discovered 38 apartment buildings that fail to meet fire safety requirements, while inspection teams in the southern metropolis are also dismantling structures that violate fire safety regulations.

In 2016, a massive fire engulfed a karaoke bar in Hanoi before spreading to nearby buildings, killing 13 people. An investigation concluded that the fire started when a welder set fire to a billboard. The owner, who hired the welder without proper supervision, was sentenced to nine years in prison. The welder also received a seven-year sentence.

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