More than 3,600 people took part in a national-scale exercise to deal with fires at high-end building in downtown Ho Chi Minh City on August 14.

The drill, co-organised by the Ministry of Public Security and the municipal People’s Committee, took place at Diamond Plaza shopping centre in District 1, which is a complex of trade, residential and recreational buildings with many flammable appliances and materials.

It involved a simulated gas leak in a KFC restaurant kitchen on the fifth floor of Diamond Plaza that caused a severe fire and explosion.

Part of the fifth floor collapsed and the fire overwhelmed the entire storey and then spread to other floors with a total area of 3,000 square metres.

Around 2,500 people, including customers and staffs, were in the mall when the fire occurred. Some 100 people were injured while many others were trapped in the fire area.

Two helicopters, two biggest-ever fire trucks along with 99 automobiles and four pumps were mobilised for the rehearsal. After 40 minutes, all the victims were rescued and the fire was controlled.

According to Sen. Lieut. Gen. Dang Van Hieu, Permanent Deputy Minister of Public Security, the drill aimed to timely deal with catastrophes caused by fire and explosions in high-rise buildings.

It offered a good chance for firefighters and rescuers to practice their skills and set up a coordination mechanism in cases of emergency, he added.

At present, HCM City has more than 25,000 facilities put under firefighting management, including 189 high-rise buildings, three export processing zones, 13 industrial zones, one high-tech park, 147 markets, 33 shopping centres and 60 supermarkets.-VNA