Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Where the fire exits gone in Vietnam?

It's the second to the last day of my Visa in Vietnam and today, I am set to 80kms towards the border.

My dorm mates have been so dear to me, I was thinking about waiting until the day after (last day of visa) but I don't want to go through serious discussion with immigration again as last time, if ever I overstay a day again - no way.

I checked out at about noontime, left my baggage in the reception while I drive to Benh Thanh Market to exchange my remaining dongs into dollars.

I was back in the reception in no time. I was going to go back to the 4th floor to say goodbye to my peers back there.

One other vietnamese guest in the hostel was feeling like Pee-ing so went with me, along with the receptionist, who, I think, was smelling something.

As we take the stairs to the next floor, the electricals were sparking in flames, and the door molted and dripping flames too. 

We rushed back down to the reception to call the firemen. I went back into the stairs, and in just seconds, the whole staircase was just filled with smoke that's catching the reflection of the grilling red flame inside the room.

The alarm has just gone on. There was no choice but to go down; Took my stuff, moved my motorbike elsewhere and was steadily looking outside to the balcony of my dorm (where my peers are awaiting rescue)

The vietnamese guest was saying there is someone inside the burning room. 

My friends back in the Fan dorm in the fourth floor couldn't escape through the stairs because of the thick smoke and flames. They went through to the balcony waiting for rescue.

The neighboring community has tried helping, while awaiting the arrival of the firemen, by extending ladders from the connecting building and into the balcony.

Then came the firemen.

As per report from the vietnamese guest, We've told the cafe owner from the ground floor of the building to tell the firemen that someone is trapped inside. They've setup the ladder all the way to the fourth floor to rescue the other guests from the fan dorm, but for some reason, there was a delay in opening the balcony door on the floor where the fire was happening. I wasn't sure if at that time it was clear that the lady trapped inside was dead, for them not to do anything, but it was the last to be worked out. It thought it was necessary to check and see if a revival might work.

After breaking the balcony door, the body was also not taken out of the room. It was only after the investigation later in the afternoon that the body of the woman was taken out.

In the evening, as we went back to collect the stuff of our dorm mates, we met the Malaysian guy who has been staying in the hostel for a while. Luckily, he was out to a meeting with someone that day; Else, he would have been asleep as well just like the girl (as he'd normally be up drinking all night). 

According to this guest, the A/C in the dorm works only at night, and during the day, a Fan is supposed to cool the room. In the morning before he left, he said he reported a problem with the fan to the reception so they can work on it as without even a fan, and the balcony door closed, it would be really warm. Apparently, none has attended to his report. He came back with all his stuff burnt. If only they'd done something when it was reported.

I'm glad most of us were safe, but there are just some regrets. That 21 argentinian woman, who just checked in at night, and who burned in that room... I wished I was ahead of the 2 other girls who went up with me to that floor, that I could've seen there was someone indeed inside, wanting to escape.

I wished i knew ahead that the balcony door in that room was locked and she has no other way out. 

And I wished there were fire exits too :-). Such an unnecessary tragedy.

more photos here from the news headline

This post is part of the #limbonisASIA tripSee link for more stories, detailed expenses and itinerary

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