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Vietnam churches told to prevent fire mishaps during Christmas

Authorities are keen on preventive measures after blaze at a nine-story building in Hanoi killed 56 residents in September
St. Joseph's Cathedral in Hanoi during the Christmas season in 2020. Christmas festivities in Vietnam are attended by thousands of people

St. Joseph's Cathedral in Hanoi during the Christmas season in 2020. Christmas festivities in Vietnam are attended by thousands of people. (Photo: AFP)

Published: December 19, 2023 11:57 AM GMT
Updated: December 19, 2023 12:38 PM GMT

Churches and places of worship in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi have been asked to take precautions to prevent fire accidents during this festive season.

The government committee for religious affairs on Dec. 15 warned of high risks of fire and explosion at places of worship where a large number of people will burn incense, candles, and votive papers during the celebrations of Christmas, New Year, and the Buddhist lunar new year.

The fire prevention and fighting department has been asked to monitor places of worship to meet the safety regulations on fire, power lines, emergency exits, and storage of incense, candles, and votive offerings.

They must be equipped with fire extinguishers, alarms, and hoses.

Joseph Nguyen Ngoc Thach from Hanoi parish said it was necessary to monitor fire-prevention regulations.

Many old churches in Hanoi are not equipped with extinguishers and fire alarms, Ngoc said.

The authorities are keen on the measures after a blaze at a nine-story building in Hanoi killed 56 residents in September due to a short circuit on the power line in a motorbike.

Joseph Nguyen Ngoc Thong from Sa Pa parish in Lao Cai province said local authorities have asked the parish to install fire extinguishers during the Christmas season.

Thong, who serves as head of the parish council, said, “We plan to buy 10 fire extinguishers.”

Joseph Nguyen Van An from Yen Bai parish in Yen Bai province said his parish installed four fire extinguishers in the church for Christmas celebrations as they are attended by thousands of people.

The head of the parish council said the parish has a group of volunteers who are ready to deal with any untoward accidents during Christmas celebrations.

In October, a short circuit caused a fire inside a parish hall where some 500 people were attending a wedding party. They were moved to safety and no serious damage was reported.

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