Hanoi mini apartment fire caused by motorbike short circuit: police

By Pham Du   September 19, 2023 | 07:56 pm PT
Hanoi mini apartment fire caused by motorbike short circuit: police
Burned motorbikes in the parking lot of an apartment block in Hanoi's Thanh Xuan District after a fire that killed 56 people, September 13, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy
An electrical fault in a petrol motorbike caused the deadly fire at the mini apartment building in Thanh Xuan District last week that killed 56 people, the Hanoi police said.

They said Wednesday that an electrical wire leading into the battery area of the vehicle short circuited, starting the fire that spread to electrical infrastructure on the first floor of the building.

Three of the four fire extinguishers at the location remained unused, authorities discovered subsequently.

The fire began at a location next to a wall in the southern part of the building, where hundreds of motorbikes and electric bikes were parked.

The blaze raged for two hours, killing 56 people and injuring 37 others.

The building construction approval issued by Thanh Xuan District in March 2015 stipulated it should be built as a six-storied house of 20.2 m height with each floor measuring 167 m2.

But the owner turned it into a 10-story mini apartment building with 230 m2 floors and 45 apartments.

The owner, Nghiem Quang Minh, has been remanded for four months pending an investigation into fire safety violations.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh described the fire as "especially severe" and instructed the Ministry of Public Security to make fire safety evaluations of all housing with a large number of occupants and prone to fire risk by November 15.

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