Five killed in Saigon house fire

By Quoc Thang, Van Diep, Ha An   January 20, 2020 | 07:43 pm PT
A woman and her children died in a house fire in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 9 early Tuesday morning.

The fire broke out around 4 a.m. at a house in an alley off Do Xuan Hop Street. The house with a floor area of 40 square meters had an attic built of wood.

The victims have been identified as Le Thi Hue, 70, her daughter Le Thi Tuyet Mai, 44, her two sons Le Hoang Tam, 37, Le Hoang Thanh, 40, and and Thanh’s wife Tran My Tuyen, 30.

Police suspect they suffocated to death. Local reports say two grandchildren had been taken to the deceased’s hometown in advance for the Tet festival.

The alley on Do Xuan Hop Street, District 9, HCMC where the fire takes place. Photo by VnExpress/Van hop

The alley on Do Xuan Hop Street, District 9, HCMC where a house fire broke out early on January 21, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Van Diep.

Bui Thi Trang, who rents an apartment in the same alley, said the fire broke out after a blast in the living room, which was not locked. Four motorbikes in the living room were burnt.

Neighbors rushed to put out the fire, but their efforts were in vain.

Witnesses said District 9 firefighters reached the scene around 10 minutes after the fire broke out. Since the house is located in a narrow alley, it was not easy for them to access it. It took them more than 20 minutes to put out the fire. It proved too late for the five inmates who were found dead.

Police are looking for the cause of the fire. Photo by VnExpress/Van Diep

Police at the scene of the fire. The cause of the fire is being investigated. Photo by VnExpress/Van Diep.

Trang Viet Thanh, head of District 9's police department said they were trying to find out what caused the fire. He rejected rumors that it was an act of arson by moneylenders who had failed to collect a debt.

The rumors were fueled by the fact that someone had vandalized the house with paint earlier, and it was said that the act was instigated by a debt collector wanting to terrorize the family.

District 9 Chairman Tran Van Bay said his administration would bear the funeral expenses of all the victims since they were all poor people.

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