Apartment block fire in Vietnam’s Hanoi kills 14, state media says

Fire reportedly started in courtyard between two buildings used to sell and repair electric bicycles.

Vietnam fire
A fire that ripped through a small apartment block in central Hanoi has killed at least 14 people, according to state media [Linh Dan/AFP]

A fire at an apartment block in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi has killed at least 14 people and injured three others, state media has reported.

The fire broke out at a five-storey building in central Hanoi’s Cau Giay district at around 12:30am on Friday (17:30 GMT on Thursday), according to media reports.

“The fire was big, with several explosions,” Vietnam News Agency (VNA) said.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security said firefighters rescued seven people from the building after it became engulfed in flames.

The fire is believed to have started in the courtyard between two blocks used to sell and repair electric bicycles, state-run VnExpress reported.

Pictures from the apartment block showed charred belongings in the building’s courtyard and the fire-damaged interior of the first floor.

Neighbour Ngo Thi Thuy, 40, was quoted telling VnExpress that she ran out onto the roof of her five-storey building after hearing people screaming about a fire.

“What hit me was something I had never seen before. Fire was burning furiously through gaps of the corrugated iron roof, and the engulfing smoke made it hard to see anything. There were explosions along with screams for help from the burning house as well as nearby houses,” Ngo was quoted as saying.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the blaze and have yet to identify the victims.

Fires are a common hazard in Vietnam’s densely packed urban centres.

Between 2017 and 2022, 433 people were killed in some 17,000 house fires in the country, most of them in urban areas, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

In September, 56 people, including four children, were killed and dozens injured in a fire at an apartment block in Hanoi.

In 2022, at least 32 people were killed at a packed karaoke bar in southern Vietnam’s Thuan An due to a fire blamed on an electrical short circuit.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies