Fire swept through Thongkhankham market in Vientiane, Laos, on March 26 resulting in widespread damage and losses for traders including those from Vietnam.
The fire broke out at approximately 20:30 destroying a large number of kiosks which were stockpiling a larger volume of goods than usual in the lead up to Bounpimai –a traditional Lao festival.
Hundreds of Vietnamese expatriates were among the thousands of other Lao traders who suffered great losses of property in the accident.
Tran Van Thai, a Vietnamese national residing in Laos for 22 years, described how he has run five stalls at Thongkhankham market for over 20 years. “I saved money for decades to invest in five kiosks and all of them were destroyed in the incident”.
Thai said he lost around VND4 billion (nearly US$200,000), and his family no longer have jobs or a livelihood as his kiosks and stock were burnt to the ground..
Nguyen Thi Hien, another victim, said her kiosk was destroyed by fire after she failed to enter the market due to the fierce heat and flames.
Fire engines and rescue forces were called to battle the blaze, and firefighters managed to get it under control thanks to heavy rain.
Relevant agencies are now investigating the fire.
burnt to the ground, damage and losses, to the ground, property losses, market fire, up to, vietnamese expatriates, great losses, 20 years, vnd4 billion, no longer, rescue forces, heavy rain
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