At least 56 dead in worst-ever Hanoi fire; building owner detained

At least 56 dead in worst-ever Hanoi fire; building owner detained

Sep 14, 2023

Hanoi [Vietnam] September 14: The owner of a nine-story apartment building that was engulfed in an inferno that killed at least 56 people in Vietnam's capital has been taken into custody on suspicion of violating fire regulation, police in Hanoi said on Wednesday.
The fire, the worst in Vietnam's history, also resulted in 37 injuries. There was no escape for dozens of people because the building had only one emergency exit, police said.
It is feared that the death toll could rise further. The cause of the fire was initially unclear. More than 100 people were rescued in a large-scale operation, with the fire extinguished about three hours after it started, the police and media reports said.
About 150 people lived in 45 mini-apartments in the building in Hanoi's Thanh Xuan district, according to local media.
When the fire broke out on Tuesday evening, most were already asleep.
According to initial investigations, the fire started on the first floor, where there was a car park for scooters.
The flames quickly spread to the upper floors, according to authorities. Some residents panicked and jumped from the roof onto adjacent buildings to escape the flames. Others rappelled down from lower floors. Doctors said many had suffered smoke inhalation, others multiple fractures.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, who visited the disaster site, promised help to the affected families. He said the authorities must learn from this tragedy.
"A building like this must have exits," he said. It was impossible to build so many floors and more than 40 flats without enough emergency exits, he said.
Fires with many victims are frequent in Vietnam. The reason is a lack of fire safety regulations. Last year, a fire in a karaoke bar in the south of the country killed more than 20 people. In 2018, a fire in a high-rise building in Ho Chi Minh City killed more than a dozen people.
Source: Qatar Tribune