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Sep 16, 2023 / 20:36

Foreign leaders extend condolences over Hanoi deadly fire

The fire was Vietnam's deadliest in 21 years since the 2002 ITC mall fire in HCMC killed 60 people.

The leaders of Laos, Venezuela, and Kazakhstan sent condolences to their Vietnamese counterparts on September 15 over the tragic fire in Hanoi's Thanh Xuan District that claimed 56 lives on the night of September 12.

In his message, Lao Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone expressed deep sorrow and conveyed his condolences to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh. He believed that under the guidance of the Vietnamese Government and authorities in Hanoi, the fire victims and their families would overcome the difficulties and return to normal life soon.

The deadly fire occurred in a tenement in the middle of a densely populated residential area. Photo: Nhat Nam/ The Hanoi Times

Sonexay Siphandone stressed that the Lao Government and people always stand by their Vietnamese counterparts in times of need.

On the same day, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Lao People's Democratic Republic Saleumxay Kommasith sent a message of condolence to Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son.

President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro and President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev sent their sympathy to President Vo Van Thuong.

The fire engulfed a tenement building in an alley on Khuong Ha Street in Thanh Xuan District late Tuesday night. Officials confirmed Wednesday that 56 people died and 37 others were injured. Ten of the dead were children. It was the deadliest fire in Vietnam in the past 21 years since the ITC shopping mall fire in HCMC that killed 60 people in 2002.

According to the Hanoi Department of Health, of the 37 people injured in the fire, 36 are still under treatment and six are in critical condition. "The city has given VND37 million (US$1,530) to the families of the deceased and VND12.4 million to the injured. Those hospitalized are being treated free of charge," the department said.

The owner of the building, Nguyen Quang Minh, was arrested and is being investigated for violating fire safety regulations. The Hanoi government has asked district authorities to inspect all rental apartments, especially tenement buildings, to ensure that all protocols for fire prevention and firefighting have been followed.

"We should not let the loss of 56 families of victims in the tragic fire become meaningless, it must become something for Party committees and authorities at all levels and all citizens to change the perception of fire prevention and firefighting. It is necessary to promote the role of the entire political system, especially the people," said Hanoi Mayor Tran Sy Thanh.

He demanded that a solution must come out of this time's general inspection of fire prevention and firefighting work to reduce the risk of fire and explosion.