|A professional demolition team from HCM City was deployed to the incident site in Thuận An City, Bình Dương Province, to break in the remaining rooms of the karaoke bar and search for victims. — VNA/VNS Photo Chí Tưởng|
BÌNH DƯƠNG — The fire at An Phú karaoke bar in the southern province of Bình Dương which broke out Tuesday night has claimed the lives of 32 people, 17 men and 15 women, as of 7pm Wednesday.
It's the deadliest karaoke fire in Việt Nam to date, followed by the conflagration of a venue in Cầu Giấy District of Hà Nội in 2016 that killed 13 people.
More deaths are expected as search and rescue efforts are still underway.
All the discovered bodies have been transferred to the morgue of the Thuận An City General Hospital for identification, although this may prove difficult as many suffered from severe, disfiguring burns.
At 3:30pm, a demolition crew of more than 20 people was deployed from HCM City to assist Bình Dương Province’s firefighters in the search for victims.
The reinforcements were equipped with oxygen tanks, gas masks, and other specialised tools and machinery to search the burnt-out building.
The force divided into groups of three to look for victims and protect their colleagues. Concrete cutting blades are being used for the demolition work.
There is still a karaoke room and storage room that firefighters are trying to access, as several structures of the building have collapsed and are blocking entry.
The fire started around 8:45pm-9pm Tuesday night when there were around 70 customers and staff inside. It's thought the fire spread quickly due to the soundproofing foam and wooden interiors.
Firefighters rescued 12 people trapped on the top floor of the bar and 20 others from the building.
The cause of the fire is suspected to be electrical failure, according to Bình Dương authorities this afternoon.
Many relatives of the missing people are desperately waiting outside the venue for updates from firefighters on the scene.
Around 40 people were treated at An Phú City General Hospital, although only 10 are thought to be in a serious condition.
One patient has a serious brain injury and has been transferred to a specialist health facility.
Others with minor injuries have been discharged.
Authorities in Bình Dương Province will release further information about the tragedy at a press conference scheduled for Thursday morning.
|An Phú karaoke bar as of Wednesday night. — VNA/VNS Photo Chí Tưởng|
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.
President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has also sent sympathies to the relatives and families of the victims of this “particularly serious” fire incident.
President Phúc requested the Government to direct the Ministry of Public Security, relevant authorities, and Bình Dương Province People’s Committee to visit the bereaved families and provide them with necessary support, address the consequences of the incident, and quickly investigate the cause of the fire. — VNS