Dozens of casualties, rescue operations ongoing after Hà Nội apartment fire

September 13, 2023 - 10:15
Seventy people have been pulled from the building, including 54 sent to hospital.
One of the last victims was taken out of the building on Wednesday morning. – VNA/VNS Photos

HÀ NỘI – Dozens of residents were injured and killed in a huge blaze at a nine-storey apartment block in Hà Nội's Thanh Xuân District on Tuesday evening.

By 5am on Wednesday, 70 individuals had been rescued from the block, with 54 taken to hospital. There have been numerous casualties, though the precise count has not been officially confirmed.

The blaze is said to have started at 11.50pm on Tuesday on the ground floor, quickly engulfing the entire building which had many occupants.

Spanning 200sq.m, the building houses around 150 residents and is situated in a tight alley off Khương Hạ Street, complicating access for rescue crews.

One onlooker told Vietnam News Agency that they detected the smell of smoke whilst asleep and used a rope ladder to help their family in descending to safety.

A separate eyewitness, observing flames consuming the fifth and sixth storeys and hearing desperate calls for help, alerted the authorities.

Rescue workers take a victim out of the building at night.

In the early hours of Wednesday, Bạch Mai Hospital admitted 19 people, among them eight children.

The hospital's director, Associate Professor Đào Xuân Cơ, stated that two individuals succumbed to their injuries en route to the facility. One patient remains in a critical condition.

All eight children are now on ventilators but are stabilised.

The other patients are dealing with the aftermath of smoke inhalation and various injuries.

By 8.30am on the same day, Đống Đa Hospital had taken in eight casualties, half of whom tragically lost their lives.

The other four have since been moved to Saint Paul Hospital.

Dr. Nguyễn Đình Phúc, the director of Đống Đa General Hospital, remarked that the survivors were in extreme distress. One individual suffered a spinal injury from a significant fall, while a mother and her child had inhaled a considerable amount of smoke.

Though the fire has been put out, the rescue mission is ongoing.

Deputy Prime Minister Trần Lưu Quang (second from right) inspects the scene on Wednesday morning.

Deputy Prime Minister Trần Lưu Quang, along with Hà Nội and Thanh Xuân District leaders, were on-site to oversee further rescue strategies following the fire.

Đinh Tiến Dũng, Secretary of the Hà Nội Party Committee, urged Thanh Xuân District and Khương Đình Ward authorities to deploy all resources to aid the injured and manage the aftermath of the blaze. He emphasised the importance of providing immediate and utmost assistance to the families impacted.

Additionally, he called for a thorough investigation into the cause of the fire.

The sight of the fire at the apartment block. VNA/VNS Photo

The block is designed in the tube house style, featuring one facade and three sides adjoining other residential properties.

There are approximately 40-50 flats available for let, predominantly occupied by families and students.

The structure boasts an underground car park, eight storeys of apartments, and a top floor balcony.

Each level comprises five apartments, ranging in size from 35 to 56sq.m. – VNS