All Passenger Vehicles Should Carry Fire Extinguishers, Officials Warn
Officials from the Vientiane Fire Fighting Department cautioned yesterday that all vehicles, in particular passenger vehicles, should install fire extinguishers to be prepared for possible emergencies.
They told Vientiane Times yesterday that buses, minivans or other passenger vehicles should all have fire extinguishers at the ready in case of a fire outbreak in order to be able to respond appropriately.
The department reported that actually, they already have a law in relation to this but once the Lao National Assembly adopts it and then they will be stricter in terms of its enforcement.
The announcement comes after a bus caught fire in Borikhamxay province last Saturday. Local traffic official Captain Saenxay Bousayakham said the bus was a private bus from the southern terminal bus station in Vientiane heading to Savannakhet and Champassak provinces.
The bus left the station on Friday night with 36 passengers on board. During the journey it encountered problems with the left back wheel at KM38 in Pakngum district, Vientiane and subsequently 31 passengers were transferred to another bus.
“On the morning of the next day, there were only five people on the bus including the owner and his wife, the driver and his assistant as well as one passenger. During the journey, the owner often smelt plastic burning and asked the driver to check but he could not isolate the problem,” Captain Saenxay said.
He explained that the fire started at the left back wheel and spread to the back seat while three of the people on board were sleeping.
“One of them shouted ‘Fire! Fire!’ to other people in the bus and they were able to get off before the fire took hold so everyone was safe.”
Officials from the Vientiane Fire Fighting Department said that if there was a fire extinguisher on board this problem could easily have been prevented but in this case there was not.
Currently officials are investigating the cause of the fire and will report on the matter soon. Captain Saenxay asked other passenger vehicles to install the firefighting equipment in their cars so that they can preserve their vehicles and the safety of all those on board.
Last year, a truck caught fire in a similar area of the province but luckily no one was injured in this incident either. On this occasion a driver threw a cigarette butt out the window, which subsequently lodged in his cargo and caught fire.
Meanwhile officials from Vientiane Public Works and Transport Department reported that they will send teams to check for the installation of fire extinguishers on all vehicles leaving the northern and southern bus terminals in Vientiane.
Source: Vientiane Times