Scooter-turned-fire engine battles blazes

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The modified fire truck, which was made by residents in southern An Giang Province, has helped reduce losses caused by fires. Photo

Living on an island surrounded by the Hau and Tien rivers, residents have considered many ways to stamp out fires themselves, such as water pipes or mobile fire extinguishers. However, this has brought little help.

The two fire trucks, with capacities of 2,500 and 4,000 litres of water respectively, have shortened the travel time and put out blazes more effectively than manual methods.

Nguyen Van Nang, 66, in Phu Binh Commune, told Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper that many houses in the commune were made of wood, so when a fire broke out, it would burn everything.
People could do nothing but scoop up buckets of water from the river, which proved useless against the flames.

Nang, together with 20 local residents, decided to make a team of firefighters to do the job.

The idea received an enthusiastic response, but members knew hardly anything about fire prevention and fighting.

In 2015, the police force came and developed a plan to ensure fire prevention and fighting in the district. Nang and his team, for the first time, were trained on the issue.

That’s when the team came up with the idea of making their own fire trucks.

Nang recalled that the local authority and residents gave them a lot of support. Some gave money, while others joined the team or helped build the fire trucks.

Huynh Bao Y, a team member in Hoa Lac Commune, said he and other residents with skills in mechanics and engineering made the mobile fire extinguishers ten years ago.


The tool was good, but people had to spend too much time filling up the tank.

When the idea of making a fire truck was raised, Y joined the team immediately.

Earlier this year, the team, with financial support from local people, managed to buy an old truck and took two rice threshers to make two fire trucks.

An engine was bought to pump water from rivers or wells to the tanks of the fire trucks.

The trucks, with hosepipes stretching more than 100 metres, are able to reach the rivers and any blazes.

Y said the cost of a fire truck was about VND50-80 million (US$2,100-3,400). Y and the team welded and painted them red to make them easily recognisable.

The fire trucks have already successfully extinguished a fire at a pharmacy in Thom Rom Market in Hoa Lac Commune. The fire broke out three months ago.

Lieutenant Colonel Do Thanh Nghi, chief of Phu Tan District Police’s department on social order said there were five points at high risk of fires.

Narrow roads and limited water sources made it difficult for residents to deal with fires.

The fire trucks helped a lot in stamping out the fires. People were encouraged to make the fire trucks in other communes, he said.