Ho Chi Minh: A fire at a packed karaoke bar in southern Vietnam has killed at least 23 people and left another 11 people hospitalise, international media reported citing local officials.
The fire broke out on the second and third floors of the three-story karaoke parlour on Tuesday night in Thuan An city, located approximately 25 kilometres (some 15 miles) north of the country’s commercial capital Ho Chi Minh City.
“We are still searching for more victims but the death toll so far is 23, and 11 people injured,” Mai Hung Dung, a top official with the ruling Communist Party in Binh Duong, told the AFP news agency.
Customers and members of the mostly female staff jumped from the second and third floors to escape the flames, which spread rapidly due to foam sound-proofing material and wooden interior features, the news agency reported.
Photos and videos of the incident surfaced on the internet show plumes of smoke billowing out of the bar as the firefighters on cranes try to extinguish fire.
Many of those rescued were unconscious after suffering from asphyxiation due to choking smoke from the blaze that was brought under control by firefighters within an hour of starting.
Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on Wednesday ordered the Ministry of Public Security and provincial authorities to investigate the cause of the fire.
Not the first time, last month, three firefighters died after trying to extinguish a fire at a karaoke venue in the capital Hanoi.
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