Fire at apartment block in Vietnam's capital Hanoi kills 56

Police say investigation into what caused fire is under way

Site of the fire at an apartment block in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Wednesday. EPA
Powered by automated translation

At least 56 people, including children, have been killed in a fire at an apartment block in Vietnam's capital Hanoi, local media reported on Wednesday, quoting police.

The fire broke out during the night in a nine-storey building, home to about 150 residents, according to the official Vietnam News Agency, which said the blaze was contained by 2am local time

State-run news outlets Dan Tri and Saigon Giai Phong initially put the death toll at 30, quoting Hanoi police, but later revised the number of casualties as bodies were removed from the site.

"Fifty-six people have been killed and 37 people injured," the Hanoi police department said in a statement. "Thirty-nine people among the 56 have been identified."

Police said an investigation into what caused the fire was under way.

Several of the victims were admitted to local hospitals with injuries after having jumped from their windows to escape the fire, state media said, quoting Vu Hoang Phuong of Hanoi Medical University Hospital.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh visited the site of the blaze on Wednesday and called for the completion of anti-fire regulations at small apartment buildings and in densely populated residential areas, according to a government statement.

"I heard a lot of shouts for help. We could not help them much," said Hoa, a woman who lives near the block.

Another witness, Huong, said a small boy was thrown from a high floor to escape the flames.

"I was about to sleep when I smelt something. I went outside and saw the fire," she said.

"The smoke was everywhere. There was a little boy thrown from a high floor, I don't know whether he survived or not although people used a mattress to catch him."

Updated: September 13, 2023, 1:43 PM