|The karaoke bar site is still cordoned off as search and rescue efforts are ongoing throughout Wednesday. — VNA/VNS Photo|
BÌNH DƯƠNG — Local authorities confirmed 14 bodies have been recovered from a karaoke bar that caught fire in the southern province of Bình Dương on Tuesday night, though not all victims have been identified.
More fatalities are expected as firefighters are still trying to access two rooms (one karaoke and one storage room) that are too hot to enter at the moment.
The blaze at the An Phú karaoke bar in Thuận An City also led to at least three people being critically injured.
According to Bình Dương police, the owner is a 42-year-old man who is currently residing in HCM City. The karaoke bar opened in 2016. The building boasts 30 karaoke boxes across its three floors with a total area of 1,500sq.m.
The fire began on the second floor at around 8:45-9pm on Tuesday night while a lot of customers and staff were inside. The initial cause is suspected to have been an electrical wiring failure.
It's thought the fire spread quickly due to the soundproofing foam and wooden interiors.
Nearly 70 firefighters and 10 fire trucks were deployed to the scene, including two ladder trucks to help bring down about 22 people who were trapped on the top floor of the building.
Many panicked and jumped to the ground, leading to various injuries.
|Victims being monitored at a local hospital. — VNA/VNS Photo|
As of noon today, smoke could still be seen blowing out of the building as the fire threatened to reportedly reignite, after being initially contained within an hour last night.
The site is still cordoned off as the search for victims continues.
Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính on Wednesday morning signed a dispatch to be sent to the Minister of Public Security and Chairs of centrally-run municipalities and provinces in the wake of the fatal incident.
The Government leader conveyed “profound sympathies to the families and relatives of the victims”.
He asked Bình Dương People’s Committee to provide support for the victims’ households, work closely with the public security ministry to address the consequences of the incident and investigate the cause, and find and punish those responsible.
The public security ministry will cooperate with local authorities to inspect all establishments considered at elevated risk of fire hazards, especially karaoke venues, and promptly deal with fire safety violations.
Any establishment that cannot guarantee fire safety as per regulations will be suspended from operations to avoid similar incidents, PM Chính underlined in the dispatch.
Bình Dương Province and HCM City today also announced fire safety compliance inspections into karaoke bars, discos, and bars.
Bình Dương Province’s authorities will provide victims' families with VNĐ30 million (US$1,270) and each injured victim with VNĐ5 million. — VNS
|Firefighters with ladders bring down trapped victims from the top floor of the karaoke bar last night. — VNA/VNS Photo|