HA NOI — A fire broke out on Ha Noi's Hong Ha Street yesterday morning, killing an 81-year-old woman and burning down 22 apartments.
|Narrow alleys make it difficult for firemen to put out a fire which killed one person and destroyed 22 apartments on Ha Noi's Hong Ha Street yesterday . — VNA/VNS Photo Doan Tan
Witnesses said that the fire started in apartment No. 20 on the second floor of a two-storey wooden building around 7.30am before spreading throughout the whole residential structure in only 30 minutes.
Residents of apartment no. 20 had been burning various offerings ahead of the lunar calendar's full moon day of July, said people living in the neighbourhood, when the fire reached the wooden floor and spread to their gasoline container.
The neighbours witnessed a big explosion, followed by a large blaze of flames.
Firefighters arrived quickly but the fire was only put out three hours later because of small alleys and strong winds, said Nguyen Truong Son, deputy head of Tu Liem District's fire brigade.
Initial reports showed that an 81-year-old woman died while trapped in the fire while most of the assets belonging to 25 families in the 22 apartment were destroyed.
Chairman of Hoan Kiem District's People's Committee Hoang Cong Khoi said the district was ready to "use the State budget to support the victims".
According to Nguyen Manh Hieu, head of the building's fire prevention team, this was the fourth fire in this building this year, and the largest yet.
Located by the bank of the Hong (Red) River, the two-storey structure, built in the 1950s, is home to 50 families. The area, which contains 16 other similar residential buildings, has a bad record of fire outbreaks.
A total of 44 apartments were destroyed when a fire broke out in 2005, while another blaze burnt down 22 apartments in 2007.
Meanwhile, another fire broke out at My Tho Market in the southern city of My Tho yesterday afternoon.
The fire started at a plastic bag shop before quickly spreading to two shops next door, said witnesses.
The blaze was extinguished after two hours. No casualties were reported but two people were hospitalised due to smoke inhalation. —VNS