HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has ordered Hà Nội authorities to quickly investigate a weekend fire at a bakery that killed eight people, most of them teenagers.
On Saturday, just hours after the fire, the PM asked the capital People’s Committee to closely co-operate with the Ministry of Public Security to determine the cause of the fire, and report the result directly to him.
The blaze started at around 10.30am on Saturday morning at a confectionary workshop by National Highway 32 in Đức Thượng Commune, Hoài Đức District, when 17 workers were working inside.
As the fire spread very fast, only nine people managed to escape. The building quickly collapsed, trapping eight people in the flames that were only put out about three hours later.
Seven people were confirmed dead at the scene, while one succumbed to severe burns at the hospital.
Hoài Đức police on Saturday managed to identify the victims. The only female victim, 55-year-old Cấn Thị Tâm, was the cook at the workshop. The rest of the dead people were young men, with the youngest, Kiều Văn Trúc aged just 15.
Other victims were identified as Nguyễn Nho Thành, 16, Kiều Tiến Trọng, 17, Nguyễn Hồng Sơn, 19, Trần Quang Huy, 20, and the 27-year-old Lê Văn Hoạt.
The age of the last victim, Khuất Văn Thịnh, is yet to be ascertained.
Two 16-year-old teenagers, Nguyễn Tiến Anh and Nguyễn Duy Tiến, suffered serious burns and are being treated at the National Institute of Burns.
At a press conference on Saturday evening, the Hà Nội fire police reported that the workshop making cakes and chocolate was owned by Nguyễn Văn Được, 25, to produce cake and chocolate.
The workshop had an area of 170sq.m, a seven metre wide façade, and a small garret where some welding work had been done at the time of the fire.
Preliminary investigations show that sparks from the welding reached the Styrofoam ceiling and ignited the fire.
Fire Police Division 13 Chief Major Nguyễn Tiến Nam said that the workshop was built with steel frames that collapsed minutes after the fire began, dividing the workshop into two parts and trapping the victims inside.
Deputy Director of the Hà Nội Fire Police, Colonel Nguyễn Văn Sơn said that the workshop had only one main gate without any emergency exit.
“It would take only 15 minutes for this kind of building to collapse in the heat of the fire in normal conditions,” he added.
Hoài Đức People’s Committee Deputy Chairman Đỗ Đức Chung said that the local authorities have provided an ex-gratia payment of VNĐ3 million (US$130) to the families of the deceased. — VNS