Hundreds left dazed and confused after apartment fire kills 13 in Ho Chi Minh City

By Quynh Tran, Duy Tran   March 23, 2018 | 11:56 am GMT+7

The deadly blaze started from the skyscraper's basement parking lot at about 1 a.m.

Fire and explosions ravaged an apartment complex in in Ho Chi Minh City at about 1 a.m. this morning, with smoke and flames rising from the basement and trapping occupants in their homes. Desperate residents tried to signal for help by waving blankets and flashlights, and some even jumped for their lives.

The blaze at the Carina Plaza in District 8 killed 13 people and injured 28. 

Hundreds of occupants who were trapped in the apartment building were successfully rescued after the fire was put out at about 3 a.m. on Friday. Local police have cordoned of the scene, leaving many without a roof over their heads.

Hundreds of occupants who were trapped in the apartment building were successfully rescued after the fire was put out at about 3 a.m. on Friday. Local police have cordoned of the scene, leaving many without a roof over their heads.

Thanh Hoa, an occupant on the fourth floor of Block A, checks her phone after the incident.I stayed up all night with nowhere to go. In my panic, I only took my phone with me. Thank God my family is all safe though, she said.

Thanh Hoa, an occupant on the fourth floor of Block A, checks her phone after the incident.

“I stayed up all night with nowhere to go. In my panic, I only took my phone with me. Thank God my family is all safe though,” she said.

68-year-old Tran Thi Be Em was still visibly shaken after the ordeal.I was sleeping on the 6th floor when the smoke came in. Everyone went crazy. I can only remember three people carrying me downstairs afterwards, Em said.

68-year-old Tran Thi Be Em was still visibly shaken after the ordeal.

“I was sleeping on the 6th floor when the smoke came in. Everyone went crazy. I can only remember three people carrying me downstairs afterwards,” Em said.

An expat in shock after the fire. The man only rented his apartment a few months ago. Ive never witnessed such a horrible tragedy before. God bless the victims, he said.

An expat in shock after the fire. The man only rented his apartment a few months ago. “I’ve never witnessed such a horrible tragedy before. God bless the victims,” he said.

Pictured: A child dozes off in his mothers arms after the fire.

A child dozes off in his mother’s arms after the fire.

Pictured: A family brings blankets to settle down for the night.

A family settles down on the street for the night.

Nguyen Thi Lan, a survivor, shows the passport she brought with her as she escaped the apartment. Weve just come back from America where we were visiting our son. I could only grab some personal documents and my passport, leaving cash and other belongings behind, she said.

Nguyen Thi Lan, a survivor, shows the passport she brought with her as she escaped the apartment. “We’ve just come back from America where we were visiting our son. I could only grab some personal documents and my passport, leaving cash and other belongings behind,” she said.

Pictured: Blankets scattered around the apartment as people tried to escape.

Blankets scattered around the apartment used by people trying to escape.

37-year-old Le Thi Thanh Truc rests after escaping with her family. They had to climb into the next-door apartment to escape.Truc said she was sound asleep when her husband yelled out: Fire! Fire!, with smoke enveloping the entire room. She, her husband and their 7-year-old daughter had to run for their lives. I was out like a light when the fire happened; fortunately my husband woke me up in time. As we dashed across the hallway, I saw people panicking and running everywhere, she said.

37-year-old Le Thi Thanh Truc rests after escaping with her family. They had to climb into the next-door apartment to escape.

Truc said she was sound asleep when her husband yelled out: “Fire! Fire!”, with smoke enveloping the entire room. She, her husband and their 7-year-old daughter had to run for their lives. “I was out like a light when the fire happened; fortunately my husband woke me up in time. As we dashed across the hallway, I saw people panicking and running everywhere,” she said.

It took firefighters more than two hours to bring the blaze under control, at which point hundreds of people had been rescued, with women and children given priority.

"This blaze has resulted in the worst human and property loss in recent years,” said Vo Van Hoan, Ho Chi Minh City’s chief of staff.

An initial investigation found the fire started from a motorbike in a basement parking lot that had more than 1,000 bikes and dozens of cars.

The exit doors were open, leaving smoke to fly up the apartment floors. Most victims were killed by suffocation, police said.

Police are still investigating the cause and searching for any trapped victims.

 
 
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