|The scene of the fire at Bismark House Mill in Oldham, Greater Manchester — Photo courtesy of GMP|
MANCHESTER — Two people have been arrested in connection with a fire in the UK where it is thought four Vietnamese citizens have perished.
On Thursday, officers from Greater Manchester Police’s Major Incident Team executed warrants at two properties.
Two people were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and drugs and organised crime offences. They remain in police custody for questioning/ have been released on bail.
Earlier, police investigating a fire at a derelict mill in Greater Manchester, UK, have confirmed they have discovered the remains of four people.
Although only one of the bodies has been identified, it is understood all the people who died in the blaze were Vietnamese citizens.
Using fingerprint analysis, police have confirmed that one of them is Nguyen Van Uoc, 31. The other three missing are Chu Van Cuong, 39; Nguyen Van Duong, 29; and Le Thanh Nam, 21.
After the fire broke out on May 7, preliminary enquiries reported that no one was inside the building at the time of the fire.
It was more than two months later that demolitions workers found human remains in the wreckage of the building in the Oldham area, north west England.
The Consular Department of Việt Nam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs have sent condolences to the family of Uoc. The Vietnamese and UK authorities are collaborating and working hard to identify the remaining victims.
"The Consular Department of MOFA and the Embassy of Việt Nam in the UK is closely monitoring the situation," said Tô Minh Thu, Counsellor and Deputy Ambassador of Việt Nam to the UK.
"We are actively cooperating with related authorities in the UK to identify the victims, promoting the investigation of the incident and support the victims' families."
Detective Superintendent Lewis Hughes, GMP’s Victim Identification lead, said: “Our thoughts remain with the families in Việt Nam, who are being fully updated and supported by specially-trained officers.
“Though we have now recovered human remains confirming four victims and are in the process of formal identification, the search of the site will continue until there is no realistic likelihood of recovering further human remains or objects of significance. It is, therefore, likely to continue for several more weeks.
“Meanwhile, officers from our Major Incident Team are continuing to follow several lines of enquiry relating to the fire and activities at the mill beforehand. Any criminal offences identified as part of their investigation will be progressed immediately and appropriately."
According to the Embassy of Việt Nam in the UK, Vietnamese citizens with related information about the incident should contact the Embassy's Citizen Protection Hotline via +44 7713 181 501.
Anyone in the UK with information should also contact Greater Manchester Police via 101. International callers can contact GMP via +44 1618 725 050. Information can also be submitted in English or Vietnamese via the Major Incident Public Portal at the website mipp.police.uk.
UK residents who would like to remain anonymous can share information via the independent charity – Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. — VNS