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Sep 14, 2023 / 15:42

Tenement building owner arrested for deadly blaze

The tragic fire at the 9-story apartment building claimed 56 people.

Hanoi police have arrested Nghiem Quang Minh, the owner of the nine-story apartment building that burned down late on September 12.

Inside the parking lot of the tenement where the fire started late on September 12. Photo: VGP

The 44-year-old man owns the tenement building on Khuong Ha Street in Khuong Dinh Ward, Thanh Xuan District, which caught fire late at night on September 12.

The tenement covers an area of 200 m2 and houses about 150 people. The fire started in the garage and quickly spread to the upper floors.

The fire was extinguished a few hours later. It killed 56 people, including children, and injured dozens of others.

Minh was arrested for allegedly violating fire prevention and firefighting regulations, lawyer Hoang Xuan Quang told The Hanoi Times.

"Under Article 313 of the Penal Code, he could face a maximum sentence of 12 years," the lawyer said.

Police are still investigating the involvement and responsibility of other individuals and organizations in the fire disaster, Quang said.

On September 13, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee Dinh Tien Dung visited the scene of the fire and consoled the victims and local people.

Both asked the Hanoi authorities to give the victims and their relatives the utmost support and attention to investigate the case and to deal with violations.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh also sent an urgent request to the authorities of all 63 provinces and cities, asking them to tighten fire prevention regulations, inspect unsafe and substandard buildings, and suspend any construction that does not meet fire prevention requirements.

In Hanoi, local authorities will review fire safety standards in all high-density construction sites, residential buildings, and shopping malls.

Since late 2022, the capital has closed more than 1,100 karaoke lounges and bars for failing to meet fire and rescue standards.