Fires, both accidental and natural, are relentless in causing mass devastation to both human property and lives. But some provinces in Laos have had it worse than others.
Lieutenant Colonel Vilaphone Vongkhamounty, Deputy Direct General of the Fire Prevention Department of the Ministry of Public Security reported a total of 197 fires that caused economic losses estimated at a walloping 44,700,000,000 kip (almost USD $5.1 million). The blazes killed 4 people, injured 2, and razed 240 houses. Faulty electrical wiring (64 cases), negligence (72 cases) in the form of ceremonial candle lighting (24 cases), cooking with coal (26 cases), and trash burning (22 cases) gone awry, and arson were among the top causes of fires in 2019.
According to Lao Security News, the media wing of the Lao police, the top ten provinces that have suffered from fire incidences in 2019 are the following:
A total of 5 fire incidents have hit this northern province, with 2 occurring in houses, 1 at a wood processing factory, 1 in a bedroom, and another in a forest. It is estimated that the damages amounted to 7,134,600,000 kip (approximately USD $800,000).
Five episodes of fire wreaked havoc on 4 houses, 1 market which included 13 shops, 6 warehouses, incurring 8,483,491,000 kip (approximately USD $950,000) in damages. Authorities concluded that 4 fire incidents happened due to poor circuitry and another due to negligence.
8. Luang Namtha
Seven incidences involving fire occurred in this province causing damage to 5 houses, a convenience store, a rubber factory, a communications office, and a motorcycle. Three happened due to poor circuitry and another three happened as a result of negligence.
Eight fires devastated parts of the province including 6 houses and 1 woodworking factory where valuable machinery and raw materials perished.
This province was hit by a total of 12 fires (10 houses, an apartment building, a warehouse, 2 vehicles) causing an estimated 931,398,000 kip (approximately USD $105,000) in damages. Police have been able to conclude that 1 was due to poor circuitry, 2 were due to arson, another caused by faulty machinery, and the rest remain under investigation.
Eleven fire incidences destroyed several parts of the province including 10 houses, 2 cars, a bus, a 6-wheeler truck, and many other high-value items and possessions totaling an estimated 1,370,661,000 kip in damages (approximately USD $154,000). Police confirmed that the causes of the fires included poor circuitry (4 times), negligence (5 times), arson (1 time), and technical deficiency (1).
This province, which is home to the world-famous Plain of Jars, was subject to 13 infernos that laid waste to 93 houses, a warehouse, 8 jewelry production shops, 4 bedrooms, and many more valuable possessions such as sound equipment and car parts. Damages amounted to 1,351,030,000. Police have ascertained that the fires had been caused by poor circuitry (4 times), arson (2 times), negligence (3 times), and unknown causes (4 times).
A total of fifteen blazes hit this large southern province and ruined 34 houses, a kitchen, a convenience store, a storage room, a rice storage facility, and other high value items. It is estimated that damages amount to 8,502,346,000 kip (approximately USD $960,000). Police authorities have concluded that four fires were due to poor circuitry, three due to negligence, one because of a technical malfunction and the rest (7) remain under investigation. Fortunately, the Wat Phou Temple is untouched.
The most populous province in Laos places second on this list of the top provinces with the most fires, with a shocking 27 fires. Together, these fires caused damage to 23 houses, a warehouse, a wood factory, 4 apartment rooms, and numerous other properties. The damages are estimated to be around 4,331,250,000 kip (approximately USD $490,000). Ten fires were due to poor circuitry, 8 were due to negligence, 1 due to a car accident, 1 due to arson, and 6 are under investigation.
1. Vientiane Capital
It is no surprise that the capital city would take the crown for the most fires as it is the economic center of the country. A whopping 68 fire incidences were reported in Vientiane Capital, 38 of which were houses, a wood factory, a manufacturing facility, 6 restaurants, 1 electricity shop, a mushroom farm, two monk quarters, several apartment rooms, 21 convenience stores and other property totaling 11,604,000,000 kip (USD $1.3 million) in damages. Police authorities have deduced that 22 of the fires were caused by faulty circuitry, 26 because of negligence, and 20 others are still being investigated.
Saysomboun, the youngest of the provinces, reported no fires this year.