Meanwhile, the city police said this product is illegal and dangerous.
The type of gun has come to the market after numerous cases of motorbikes catching fire have occurred across Vietnam since late 2010, but concerned agencies have yet to find out the cause of the fires.
Each gun of this kind, along with three bullets that contain carbon dioxide (CO2) powder, can be bought for VND2.5 million (US$120) each.
Buyers will pay an additional VND300,000 for the gun case, if they want it.
“By spending only VND2.5 million, you can own a gun that is able to extinguish vehicle fires of all kinds, from 2-wheeled to 4-wheeled, in a safe and convenient way,” a trader of these guns said to customers.
This kind of gun has also been introduced on the Internet.
However, the sellers do not offer a warranty for people who buy them.
According to Tuoi Tre’s inquiry, these guns have been brought by traders to Vietnam from China via the border crossings. It cannot be officially imported as it is a very new product that has yet to undergo quality verification.
Traders of these guns told Tuoi Tre correspondents that the wholesale price of the gun was VND2.1 million. “We can earn a profit of only VND500,000 per gun, as we have incurred many expenses on carrying it in from the area bordering China.”
One of the traders is a man who only called himself Tam, who met with Tuoi Tre on Thanh Thai Street, Ward 14, District 10.
Tam showed the correspondents a device similar to a handgun with a stainless steel barrel that is actually a “bullet” containing CO2 powder.
Tam said that the user simply has to aim the gun at a fire on a motorbike and pull the trigger, and the fire will be put out in a few seconds.
When asked about whether there were papers for such a gun, Tam said, “No. How can there be paper for such a kind of gun?”.
The fire extinguishing gun and two "bullets" that contain carbon dioxide powder (Photo: Tuoi Tre)
Ineffective, illegal and dangerous
Yesterday afternoon, a customer who bought the gun used it to extinguish a small fire created by setting a petrol-soaked cloth on fire.
After shooting all three bullets, many sparks went off on the gun but the fire was not stamped out.
Le Huy Ba, head of the Institute of Science, Technology and Environmental Management, said the volume of CO2 powder must be enough for the size of the fire so that it can cover the entire fire and put it out.
Pending verification by concerned agencies, people should not buy this kind of gun, Ba said.
Do Van Dung, vice headmaster of the HCMC Technical Teacher Training University, said, “I have learned about the gun on the Internet. In my opinion, such a gun should be able to put out a small fire at a short distance above the ground, but it cannot extinguish a fire that occurs high above the ground or a fire on a motorbike.
“CO2 powder is heavy and will fall after being shot from the gun, so it cannot reach a fire at a big height. Also, the volume of powder is not enough to make its way to all of the parts of a motorbike,” he explained.
Major General Tran Trieu Duong, director of the HCMC Fire Prevention and Control Police Department, said these guns are illegal products, since any fire extinguishing equipment must be verified by competent agencies before they can be launched on the market as a device for extinguishing fires.
Traders of the gun have no certificate of origin (C/O) for this product. They have not been licensed to trade such a device either, the official said.
“Consumers should only buy fire-extinguishing equipment that has been verified in terms of quality, are allowed to be traded on the market, and are suitable for your specific type of vehicle.”
This is a dangerous product that has been illegally traded, and any trader of this gun will be penalized, said Colonel Tran Van Tam, an official from the HCMC Police.