Hanoi karaoke bar blaze kills 13

Wednesday, 2016-11-02 18:41:48
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At the scene of the blaze. (Credit: NDO)
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NDO—Thirteen people were killed after a fire broke out at an eight-storey karaoke venue on the afternoon of November 1 and tore through four neighbouring buildings in Hanoi’s Cau Giay District, the Ministry of Public Security’s Fire and Rescue Police Department has confirmed.

At a press briefing in Hanoi on November 2, the department announced that the blaze had started at around 1:30pm at 68 Tran Thai Tong Street.

Fire from an advertising board outside the karaoke bar spread quickly to upper floors and soon spread to four adjacent buildings. Many were lucky to escape, but several were trapped inside the venue.

Soon after receiving the information, Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee Hoang Trung Hai, leaders of the capital city’s police and the Cau Giay authorities arrived at the scene to direct firefighting work and the rescue of victims trapped inside the house. Hundreds of police and firefighters and dozens of fire trucks participated in the efforts.

Firefighting police broke through the steel layers of the karaoke bar’s frontage, gained access to higher floors by elevator cars and used sprinklers to put out the fire inside.

After more than four hours, the fire was extinguished. In the incident, thirteen people were killed and four entire houses were been burned. A lot of automobiles and motorcycles on the sidewalk in front of the building were also destroyed by the fire.

According to initial information, the fire may have been caused by welding on the billboard.

Right after receiving news of the fire, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc requested that the Hanoi People’s Committee take action and instructed firefighting and rescue forces to search for people still trapped.

He also asked for an urgent investigation into the cause of the fire.

The municipal People’s Committee was asked to provide timely support to victims and their relatives.

Additionally, all karaoke bars and restaurants in the city which fail to meet regulations on fire prevention and safety must be closed immediately, the Prime Minister ordered.

The Hanoi authorities also asked the Cau Giay authorities to coordinate with the relevant police and armed forces to urgently overcome the consequences of the blaze, while visiting and supporting the families of the victims.

The city’s police, in coordination with functional forces, are also investigating the cause of the fire, as well as coordinating with local agencies to conduct inspection for the regulations on fire prevention, especially in apartments, markets, trade centres and entertainment areas.

The Hanoi authorities have directed the city’s administrations to strengthen propaganda work on abiding by the regulations on fire prevention and to give instructions to locals on the matter.

Speaking at the press brief this morning, Major General Doan Viet Manh, Head of the Ministry of Public Security’s Fire and Rescue Police Department, said that the relevant authorities were seeking the cause of the blaze to handle it in accordance with the law.

Deputy Head of the Department, Lieutenant Colonel Bui Quang Viet, said that karaoke bars were always at high risk of fire. In Hanoi alone, since early this year six karaoke bar fires have occurred, causing huge property losses.

Viet also added that the main reason leading to difficulties in firefighting work was that karaoke bars often use large billboards outside that seal their ventilation, making rescue work difficult. Moreover, these facilities often use flammable sound insulation materials, which allow flames and smoke to spread quickly before people inside can become aware of the blaze.

He recommended that karaoke bars organise training for employees on fire protection and deploy rescue facilities at such scenes to put people in distress out of the incidents. Locals should also learn how to escape from such a blaze and should not bring flammable and explosive materials to such venues, Viet added.

Also on the morning of November 2, the Department required Police and Fire Prevention Departments at centrally run provinces and cities to urgently review and inspect entertainment facilities and crowded areas, especially those at risk of fire and explosions, such as karaoke bars and restaurants.

For the incident at 68 Tran Thai Tong Street, the Hanoi Police would quickly coordinate with relevant units to carry out an investigation and determine the cause of the fire to clarify the responsibilities of individuals and organisations in the blaze. The results should be submitted to the Department prior to December 13 before being sent to the Ministry of Public Security.

The same day, Major General Doan Duy Khuong, Director of the Hanoi Police said that the city’s police have directed relevant authorities to start prosecuting the case.

A firefighter struggles to extinguish the fire. (Credit: NDO)

At the scene of the blaze. (Credit: NDO)

The blaze destroyed many cars and motorbikes nearby. (Credit: NDO)

Functional forces investigate the cause of the fire at the scene. (Credit: NDO)