International News in July/August

International News in July/August

USA: Southern States Damaged by Fires

Environmental concerns are being raised in the aftermath of a fire on an oil rig in a dry dock on the mobile river in Alabama. More than 55 firefighters responded to the incident at the rig, which contained diesel, hydraulic fluid, oil and other potentially hazardous substances. Whilst in Florida a fire claimed the lives of almost all the animals at a Florida gulf coast wildlife centre. The fire at the alligator and wildlife discovery centre which was home to more than 250 animals was under control within an hour but almost all were killed.

Greece: Largest Evacuation Ever

In July, whilst wildfires on mainland greece continued to burn around Athens, on the island of Rhodes more than 80 wildfires forced over 30,000 of locals and tourists to flee with officials reporting its the largest evacuation ever in the country. Within days, over 2,500 were evacuated from Corfu on a single night.

China: Fatal Hospital Blaze

A fire at the Changfeng hospital in Beijing has killed 29 people. Twelve people, including the director and deputy director of the hospital, have been detained, as well as the head of the firm overseeing renovation works. A drone was used to communicate to trapped patients that help was on the way and to stay calm and wait to be rescued. Approximately 70 people were evacuated by firefighters, who put the fire out within an hour. It is reported that the fire was started by sparks generated by internal renovation works igniting flammable paint being used in the inpatient department of the hospital.

Bangladesh: Billions of dollars of goods lost

Five big markets, containing thousands of shops have been destroyed in Bangladesh, leaving at least eight people injured. Around 48 units of fire service and civil defence along with rescue teams from the army, police, rapid action battalion (rab), detective branch (db), and air force took part in the operation to contain the blaze. According to the fire service, two members of the force were among the injured who have been admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital. The fire took six hours to extinguish, during which time it was thought that billions of dollars of goods had been lost, along with many families’ livelihoods.

Pakistan: Four firefighters lose their lives

A fire at two adjacent factories in the port of Karachi, Pakistan has claimed the lives of four firefighters. Firefighters and rescue workers rushed to contain the fire, which led to the buildings collapsing, killing four firefighters, and injuring more than a dozen others. The cause of the blaze is still unknown, but it is thought that the spread of the fire was due to the amount of goods stored inside being over the capacity of the building. A lack of fire doors and firefighting equipment in the building has also been reported. The fire comes shortly after the Pakistan accord a legally binding agreement between global union federations and garment brands and retailers, which looks to build on widespread safety improvements in factories has been signed by more than 45 parties.

Japan: Gas explosion in restaurant

32 fire engines responded to a fire at a restaurant on the second floor of a building in the shimbashi area of tokyo, japan. The blaze started following an explosion, which is believed to have been caused by a gas leak. Four people have been reported to be injured, and while the fire did not spread to surrounding buildings, debris from the explosion was thrown across the street causing superficial damage to cars. A person involved with the restaurant has told police the explosion occurred after he lit a cigarette

Spain: Environmental Terrorists

More than 100 fires appear to have been started intentionally in the Asturias region, and another 38 wild fires in the neighbouring Cantabria region. Authorities have labelled those who started the fires as environmental terrorists and are calling for the penalties for criminals who start fires to be increased.

UK: Battery Quality Control Needed

The government is being called on to subsidise safe e-bikes after a number of fires caused by a faulty battery, including one that claimed the lives of a family of four in London. Industry experts are pushing for better controls around the import of batteries from countries with less stringent regulations. Young people, who work in the UK’s gig economy as delivery couriers are thought to be more at risk, as they are more likely to buy lower-end goods, and live in houses of multiple occupancy, with no external storage for the bikes.

Germany: Theme Park Evacuation

25,000 people have been evacuated after a fire broke out in a control room of Germany’s biggest theme park, Europa Park, near the French border. More than 450 emergency personnel rushed to the park to assist with evacuation as well as firefighting. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, and although the area directly around the scene of the incident remains closed while the investigation is ongoing, the rest of the park has reopened.

Guyana: Arson and Murder Charges

A 15-year-old girl in the South American country of Guyana is facing charges of arson and murder as a school dormitory fire claimed 20 young lives. More than 24 students were also injured, including a 13-year-old who has been flown for specialist treatment at the northwell burn centre at the University Hospital in Staten Island, New York. All of the doors in the facility had been locked, to prevent the students from sneaking out at night, this inevitably stopped the children escaping from the fire. The school alarm systems and fire preparedness efforts are also being investigated