Fire Kills 14 in Hanoi

( – At least 14 people have been reported dead and three others injured when a devastating fire broke out in a residential building in downtown Hanoi in Vietnam.

The fire occurred during the wee hours of May 24, at a five-story apartment building located in the Cau Giay district of the Vietnamese capital. According to local news agencies, the fire began and spread from “several explosions.” Authorities determined the explosions originated from a courtyard where an electric bike sales and repair shop was located.

Some survived by climbing on to the roof of the building; some say they heard multiple screams for help and saw flames licking out of crevices as they grappled with the difficulty of breathing and seeing through the thick smoke.

First responders were able to rescue five people from the apartment complex. The damage was largely on the first floor of the structure. Photos from the aftermath of the blaze shows residents sorting out the remains of their belongings in the courtyard outside their smoking homes.

Authorities are still investigating the incident, and have yet to determine the identities of the victims of the blaze.

One of Vietnam’s most vibrant urban centers, Hanoi is also densely packed, with buildings and structures crammed dangerously close to each other. According to the country’s Ministry of Public security, the situation creates a much larger risk of fires. From 2017 to 2022, the ministry said that around 17,000 house fires were reported, which in turn have caused a total of 433 deaths. The vast majority of these incidents happened in urban centers. Just last September, four children were among the 56 casualties from another apartment building fire in Hanoi, that also left dozens more victims injured. In another incident in 2022, a short circuit at a bar in Thuan An, another urban center, killed at least 32 people.

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