A huge fire blazed out of control for several hours on the out-skirts of Saigon on Friday (21 February), in the Giq Dinh area.
MS Fire truck drives up
MHS Men take out hose
Two shots policeman chases crowd back
MCU men struggle with hose
MS three men drag in fire hose
CU giving out water
MS man throwing water on fire
MCU man throws water on fire
MLS men fight fire
MS men fight fire
MS woman throws water on fire
MCU woman sitting
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A huge fire blazed out of control for several hours on the out-skirts of Saigon on Friday (21 February), in the Giq Dinh area.
Giq Dinh is a laborer's quarter. Most of the houses are highly inflammable makeshift structures resembling shanties. Their limited living space is normally shared by two or three families. There has been Viet Cong activity in Giq Dinh in the past but there was no evidence that this blaze was intentionally set.
A crowd of at least five thousand turned out to watch as the flames quickly destroyed the quarter's houses. Most of the Saigon fire brigade turned out to fight the blaze, leaving only standby equipment in downtown Saigon. The fire produced a thick, black column of smoke , clearly visible for several miles. The smoke was blamed for attracting most of the spectators. Police at times had to use nightsticks to keep them back out of the way of the firefighters. Even so, the firemen had difficulty stringing houses from the firetrucks to the flames because of the crowds. Residents of the quarter used buckets, pans and anything else that would hold water in an effort to damp down the flames.
Despite their efforts and those of the fire brigade, the blaze raged out of control for well over two hours, destroying much of the quarter and leaving an unknown number of people homeless. No count of injuries nor estimate of the total damage was available.