HA NOI - At least five people have died in a fire that broke out in a five-storey karaoke bar in Ha Noi's Dong Da District last Saturday.
The dead include the bar owner and four of his employees, according to Colonel Nguyen Van Dai, chief of the Dong Da District Police Office. The deceased have been identified as: Pham Trung Nam, 42; Tran Trung Hieu, 25; Hoang Thi Hien, 26; Luu Viet Trinh, 24; and Le Thi Hang, 22.
Four of the victims died of asphyxiation, while Luu Viet Trinh was burned to death, police said.
Trinh's uncle said the young girl had a tragic story: her dad died when she was small and her mother remarried. Trinh has a younger sibling. She had been working at the karaoke bar for a very short time, he said.
Tran Huy Hao, father of Tran Trung Hieu, said his son was a hard-working boy who wanted to do extra jobs to help the family.
The fire was said to have started on the first floor at around midday, gutting the entire bar before spreading and engulfing the upper floors. The fire burned for nearly three hours before it was finally put out at around 3pm by four firefighting trucks.
Initial investigations indicate that the fire was caused by a short circuit on the first floor, which then spread to the carpets on the floor and the stairs. It was raining hard and strong winds fanned the flames. All rooms in the karaoke bar were equipped with soundproof materials, which made the situation worse.
Four of five stories were damaged in the blaze and the victims' bodies were found on the 2nd and 3rd floors.
Witnesses said explosions were heard during the fire.
The karaoke bar on Giang Vo Street has been cordoned off pending further investigation, police said.