HomeTop Headlines14 Killed in Devastating Apartment Inferno

14 Killed in Devastating Apartment Inferno

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A devastating fire engulfed a residential building complex in central Hanoi, Vietnam early Friday morning, May 24, 2024, claiming the lives of 14 people and leaving three others injured, according to local authorities. The blaze, which broke out around 12:30 a.m. local time, sent plumes of smoke and toxic gases billowing into the night sky as rescuers rushed to the scene to save those trapped inside.

Witnesses described harrowing scenes of chaos and desperation as explosions rocked the building, likened to the sound of firecrackers, and screams pierced the air. Neighbors recounted their fear and panic as they fled from the inferno, with one resident expressing, “We were so, so scared.”

Neighbor Nguyen Thanh Trung described the chaos and immediate response, indicating that he and others used a ladder to break windows and assist residents in escaping.

The apartment complex in the densely populated Cau Giay district of Vietnam’s capital consisted of two interconnected blocks, one with two stories and the other with three. The courtyard, a makeshift garage for selling and repairing electric bicycles, became the fire’s epicenter, intensifying the blaze and hindering rescue efforts.

Rescuers faced significant challenges accessing the building due to its location down a narrow alley, preventing fire trucks from reaching the scene promptly. Despite their efforts, the fire tore through the complex, causing the corrugated metal roof to collapse and reducing the structure to a charred shell.

Authorities are currently investigating the cause of the fire, which marks the latest in a series of deadly blazes in Vietnam. Safety features such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are often lacking in residential buildings, contributing to the frequency of such incidents.

In the aftermath of previous tragedies, including a fire that claimed 56 lives in a Hanoi block of flats last September, the government has initiated measures to improve fire safety regulations and inspections. However, fatal fires remain a common hazard in Vietnam’s densely packed urban centers.

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