Deadly inferno Claimed dozens of lives in an apartment in Vietnam

Deadly Apartment Block Fire Claims Dozens of Lives in Hanoi

Dozens of people tragically lost their lives in a devastating apartment block fire in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi. The incident unfolded just before midnight on Tuesday in a 10-storey building’s parking floor, initially engulfing a motorbike-packed area. Eyewitnesses recounted harrowing scenes, including screams from within the building and a desperate attempt to save a child.

Blaze Engulfs Building with Fatal Consequences

The fire rapidly ascended the building, shrouding the structure in thick smoke that poured out from barred balconies and windows. Authorities responded swiftly, rescuing approximately 70 individuals and transporting 54 to hospitals. Tragically, among those rescued were “dozens of dead,” as reported by the official Vietnam News Agency. The casualty count, according to a government minister, is distressingly high, with many of those hospitalized feared to have perished. Heartbreakingly, at least three children are believed to be among the victims.

No Escape in a Closed Environment

Local residents described a nightmarish scene, with calls for help echoing through the building. The layout of the apartment block posed a critical challenge, as it lacked a viable escape route, leaving victims trapped. Residents deemed it “impossible” for the victims to flee the engulfing flames. By Wednesday morning, the fire was extinguished, but rescue teams still faced difficulties accessing the building, nestled in a narrow alley within a residential area in the city’s southwest.

Safety Hazards and Heroic Acts

The apartment block’s design featured small balconies surrounded by iron bars, providing little room for escape. Remarkably, it had only a single exit and lacked an emergency ladder on the exterior. Approximately 150 people called this complex home. Amidst the chaos, witnesses reported a heart-rending act of desperation—a small boy thrown from a high floor in an attempt to escape the flames. His fate remained uncertain, but some courageous individuals tried to cushion his fall using a mattress.

Government Response and Ongoing Safety Concerns

Vietnam’s deputy prime minister, Tran Luu Quang, visited the scene on Wednesday morning, demonstrating the government’s commitment to addressing this tragic incident. This disaster is not an isolated incident in the country, as Vietnam has faced several deadly fires in recent years, often occurring at entertainment venues. One year ago, a fire in a karaoke bar in Ho Chi Minh City claimed 32 lives, resulting in the owner’s arrest on charges related to fire safety violations. This prompted a nationwide inspection of high-risk establishments. In 2018, 13 people lost their lives in a Ho Chi Minh City apartment complex fire, and in 2016, 13 more perished in a Hanoi karaoke venue blaze.

Safety Concerns Persist in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia has witnessed its fair share of deadly fires, often attributed to lax safety standards, leading to accidental conflagrations. The tragic incident in Hanoi serves as a stark reminder of the critical need for enhanced safety measures and fire prevention efforts throughout the region.

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