Sales of fire safety equipment have skyrocketed in Ho Chi Minh City following a serious apartment building fire that killed 13 people this week.
Many people in the southern metropolis, most of whom are living in apartment complexes, have started looking for masks, rope ladders, fire blankets, and other safety gear.
The demand for these objects has increased rapidly after a deadly inferno broke out at the Carina Plaza apartment complex in District 8 on Friday, claiming 13 lives and injuring nearly 100 others.
Although there are over 1,000 businesses selling fire safety equipment across Ho Chi Minh City, local residents are still uncertain of how to choose to the best gear as well as how to properly use them.
Long, who is residing on the 12th floor of an old apartment building in Binh Thanh District, said he had spent his weekend browsing for rope ladders and fire escape belts at some nearby stores.
“The Carina Plaza inferno alerted me to how necessary it is to familiarize myself with the fire safety gear,” Long stated.
Thanh Nga, a resident in Phu Nhuan District, has purchased a set of ladders for VND100,000 (US$4.4) per meter.
Thuy, who lives in an apartment complex in District 8, said she and her husband had already bought four gas masks at VND400,000 ($17.5) apiece and fire blankets at VND550,000 ($24) on Friday evening.
“These objects are for our safety. I hope we will never have to use them, however,” Thuy remarked.
According to Senior Lieutenant Colonel Luong Nguyen Hoang, director of the 4/10 Fire Equipment Center, which is managed by the municipal fire department, far more buyers have visited the store since the Carina Plaza tragedy.
“This is quite a knee-jerk reaction. People often rush to buy fire safety equipment following a conflagration. Such demand will fall shortly,” Hoang elaborated.
Aside from standard gear, some people are willing to pay higher for products of foreign brands.
Binh, a shopkeeper in Binh Thanh District, advertised a set of fire escape ropes and ladders made by South Korean firm Seohan, which was priced at VND4.3 million ($189).