Where mini firefighting vehicles help save lives

|     Gia Loc     |

HCM CITY (Viet Nam News/ANN) – Ly Nhon Thanh’s mini fire engine won the third prize in a contest last year called Community’s Ideas for innovative technology ideas, products and solutions.

The Quarter Safeguard team for firefighting in Nguyen Thai Binh Ward in HCM City’s District 1 is often called for help by locals.

The team has mini fire vehicles than can enter narrow alleys, and has helped put out dozens of fires since 2009 when it was first set up.

The vehicles are self-modified into mini fire engines, an initiative by Ly Nhon Thanh, the team’s head.

In 2002 Thanh was one of first to rush to the rescue when the blaze broke out at the International Trade Centre in District 1. The fire claimed 60 lives, but he said he saved 97 people.

Ly Nhon Thanh has fabricated these mini firefighting vehicles that can enter even narrow alleys in HCM City and extinguish fires. – VIET NAM NEWS/ANN

“How painful and unhappy it was to see the bodies of adults and children being brought out of fires,” he said, explaining that after that disaster he wanted to do something.

He also saw fires in alleys so narrow that fire engines could not enter them. During those times he would think a smaller vehicle could be useful in saving lives and property.

He bought an old motorbike and other equipment such as a small water pumping machine based on the advice of firefighters at the district Fire Prevention and Fighting Police Division.

In October 2009 the first firefighting motorbike was ready for use. It easily entered small alleys and helped put out 14 fires in the next few years.

In 2016 he got a loan to buy a three-wheel vehicle which was later installed with a 1,300-litre water tank, a small water pumping machine, a ladder, a hose, and other equipment.

“The vehicle, only 1.3m wide and 1.8m long, very easily reaches fires in houses inside long, narrow alleys,” Thanh said.

A year after he fabricated the vehicle, he was contacted by overseas Vietnamese from a company supplying technologies to treat environmental disasters and they donated foam extinguishing agent F500, which stamps out fires rapidly.

“The agent especially renders toxic smoke discharged by fires non-toxic. It is very important because many people die due to toxic smoke,” Thanh said.

Last year he borrowed again to buy a motorbike for carrying a 400hp water pumping machine also donated by the same overseas Vietnamese.

He himself fabricated a device to connect the pump with fire hydrants on streets to spray water on fires.

These mini firefighting vehicles were used recently to put out a fire aboard a bus on Ong Lanh Bridge in District 1.

Thanh says he hopes never to use his equipment to extinguish fires because he just does not want a fire to break out.