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A fierce fire took place in a small alley in Ho Chi Minh City on late afternoon of Friday, killing eight trapped people, including several children, probably due to smoke suffocation, local fire police reported the same day.
The flame broke out at about 5:00 pm in the house at 47/58/2 Lac Long Quan Street, Ward 1, District 11, Ho Chi Minh City.
The fire then developed rapidly and covered the 126-square-meter house, with the red flames rippled and the columns of smoke rising tens of meters high.
The house has a ground floor, an entresol and an upper floor.
Several fire police units of the city were mobilized to the scene and they put down the blaze at over 6:00 pm.
The house is located deep in a narrow alley, about 300 meters from the main road, making it difficult for the firefighters to approach the scene, the fire police said.
Colonel Huynh Quang Tam, head of the fire prevention agency under the Ho Chi Minh City Public Security Department, and his deputy, Senior Lieutenant Colonel Do Van Khang, came to the scene to direct the firefighting team.
“I heard many loud explosions and screams of people from the house at around 5:00 pm,” 48-year-old Nguyen Huu Sang, who lived next to the fired house, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
Many local people attempted to find a way to save the trapped people, but they failed due to the very fierce flame, Sang added.
“Before the fire, a tutoress arrived at the house to teach the children there,” a man named Trung, the uncle of the house’s owner, said.
Five out of the dead bodies were later transferred to the An Binh Funeral House in District 5 and the others were brought to the Nguyen Tri Phuong Hospital, in the same district, said Dr. Pham Quoc Dung, director of the District 11 Hospital, which had sent two ambulances and four medical staffs to the scene.
The Emergency Center 115 also sent an ambulance to the fire area after receiving a request from the District 11 Hospital.
On Saturday morning, the city police said the investigation of the fire cause is underway.
The house’s owner is 44-year-old Nguyen Thi Le T., who lived there together with her brother-in-law Ho Dinh T., 43, who produced and traded in brick-polishing material made from candle wax and kerosene at the house, reported police.
This establishment does not have a license, police said.
Nguyen Thanh Tuu, 40, the only person who escaped the fire, narrated that before the incident, he was carrying a barrel of such polishing material when he accidentally spilled it on the floor.
The material then flowed to a candle wax cooking oven nearby and caught fire, Tuu said.
In addition to a main entrance, the house has a side door, which was tightly closed at the time of the fire, police reported.
The investigation is being continued.
On the late evening of Friday, State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh sent their condolences to the families of the victims of the fire.
The two leaders requested local authorities to give supports to the families of the dead victims and investigate the cause of the fire.
They also ordered relevent agencies to inspect the compliance with fire safety regulations in residential areas, especially densely populated ones, and take all necessary measures to ensure the effectiveness of fire and explosion prevention and protect life and properties of people.
The Prime Minister also directed local police to strictly punish any violations of fire safety regulations.
This article was originally published in Tuoitrenews