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Dozens dead in Hanoi apartment fire

Dozens dead in Hanoi apartment fire
Published September 13, 2023 Updated September 13, 2023 Bookmark Bookmark Share WhatsApp Telegram Facebook Twitter Email LinkedIn

HANOI — Dozens of people died in a fire at an apartment block in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi, state media said on Wednesday (Sept 13), with witnesses reporting screams from inside and a small boy thrown from the building.

The fire started just before midnight on Tuesday (1am, Singapore time) in the parking floor of the 10-storey building, an area packed with motorbikes, witnesses said.

More than 100 people managed to escape or were pulled from the building by rescuers, with authorities rushing 54 to hospital, including “dozens of dead”, the official Vietnam News Agency said.

At least three children were among the dead, Viettimes, an online state newspaper, reported.

“I heard a lot of shouts for help. We could not help them much,” said Ms Hoa, a woman who lives near the block and gave only one name.

“The apartment is so closed with no escape route, impossible for the victims to get out,” she told AFP at the site.

Vietnam has experienced several deadly fires in recent years, frequently at entertainment venues.

A year ago, a blaze in a three-storey karaoke bar in commercial hub Ho Chi Minh City killed 32 people.

At least 17 people were injured in that fire, with the owner arrested on charges related to breaching fire prevention regulations.

In the aftermath, the prime minister ordered an inspection of all high-risk venues.

Thirteen people died in 2018 after an apartment complex, also in Ho Chin Minh City, caught fire. 

Another 13 died in 2016 in a karaoke venue in Hanoi following a fire.

Southeast Asia frequently sees deadly fires with accidental conflagrations common, a result of lax safety standards. AFP