Fire breaks out at Saigon hotel designated as quarantine facility

By Dinh Van   October 30, 2020 | 07:45 pm PT
Fire breaks out at Saigon hotel designated as quarantine facility
Police block Hoang Viet Street in HCMC's Tan Binh District after De Nhat Hotel catches fire on the night of October 30 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van.
A fire broke out at a HCMC four-star hotel that is being used as a Covid-19 quarantine facility Friday night, forcing 71 guests to move out and to another location.

At around 7 p.m. at De Nhat Hotel on Hoang Viet Street near Tan Son Nhat International Airport, flames and smoke emanated from a place where blankets, sheets and other items were stored on the fifth floor.

Within a few minutes thick black smoke covered the entire fifth floor.

"I saw dozens of guests, mainly foreigners, rush down and gather in the hall in panic while some others were still stuck on the upper floors," Hoang Nam, an eyewitness, said.

Five fire trucks arrived, and firefighters had to smash windows to rescue two foreigners, a Chinese and a Spaniard, trapped in the upper floors.

The fire was extinguished within 20 minutes.

Authorities have yet to determine the cause.

Doan Van Su, chief of office of the Tan Binh District People's Committee, said the 71 guests, many of them foreigners, were taken in buses to a hotel in District 1, another paid quarantine facility.

The bus drivers wore protective clothing, he said.

De Nhat was one of 22 hotels approved by city authorities to serve as paid quarantine facilities for foreigners, with room prices ranging from VND1.8 to VND3.2 million ($77.63-138) per night.

People in quarantine have their temperatures checked twice a day and tested for the novel coronavirus four times during the 14-day isolation period, Dr Phan Thanh Tam, deputy director of the HCMC Center for Disease Control, said.

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