Hanoi suspends new business licenses for karaoke parlors in wake of deadly blaze

By Vo Hai   November 3, 2016 | 04:02 pm GMT+7
Hanoi suspends new business licenses for karaoke parlors in wake of deadly blaze
Firefighters at the scene on November 1. Photo by VnExpress/Xavier

A deadline of November 14 has been set to find those responsible for the tragedy.

Authorities in Hanoi have decided to temporarily stop granting business licenses for karaoke parlors and nightclubs from November 5 after a karaoke bar fire killed 13 people and gutted three adjacent buildings in Cau Giay District on Tuesday.

“[You] can immediately close down a facility if it fails to meet safety standards,” Hoang Trung Hai, the head of Hanoi's Communist Party unit, told local authorities at a meeting on Wednesday.

The city’s leaders have instructed local authorities to review and inspect fire safety in all apartment buildings, markets, commercial centers and entertainment facilities over the next two months, even sites that have already been granted fire safety certificates.

Regarding the disastrous fire, Hai asked district authorities to establish who was responsible for the tragedy and report back to the city's Party Committee at a meeting scheduled for November 14.

On Tuesday afternoon, a fire broke out at a karaoke lounge on Tran Thai Tong Street, Cau Giay District, a popular entertainment hub among Hanoians, and quickly spread to three others. The fire resulted in 13 deaths and scores of burnt-out vehicles.

Authorities attributed the initial cause to a small fire that started when a large billboard installed in front of a bar was being fixed. Dry weather and strong winds quickly fueled the flames, turning it into an inferno.

Hanoi police have launched a criminal investigation into the case.

There are 1,204 karaoke parlors in the city, of which 80 percent do not meet fire safety requirements, according to city officials. There have been 23 fires involving karaoke bars since the start of the year.

Karaoke parlors is a popular a gathering place for large groups of people in Vietnam.

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