13 dead in Vietnam highrise apartment fire


HANOI - Thirteen people were killed and several injured when a fire broke out at an apartment complex in Vietnam's southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City early Friday (March 23), authorities said.

The fire in the Carina Plaza high-rise building started around midnight on the lower floors of the building and soon spread to the upper floors.

An official told AFP that many of the victims died of suffocation as they tried to flee the fire by running to higher floors.

"Thirteen people were pulled out dead and more than a dozen others injured. They died from suffocation," the official from the neighbourhood's government office told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

She said officials had not yet determined the cause of the fire.

State-run VietnamPlus news site said the blaze started in the underground parking garage that connected adjacent blocks of the apartment complex.

The fire was extinguished by dawn Friday, though the area was shrouded in thick smoke for several hours, according to images on state-run media.

The large apartment complex includes several buildings between 15 and 22 storeys high and was built six years ago in a residential neighbourhood of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam's largest city.

The complex has a swimming pool, tennis court, kindergartens and shops on site, according to its website.

It was Vietnam's deadliest fire since 2016 when a blaze in a karaoke bar in Hanoi left 13 people dead, mostly government workers who died in the soundproof chambers.