VIETNAMESE Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered a thorough investigation into the Hanoi karaoke parlor blaze that killed 13 people in the country’s capital on Tuesday.
In a statement on the government website, the premier asked local authorities to search for victims and ordered police to carry out a prompt investigation and punish anyone who violated the law.
According to online newspaper VnExpress, Phuc also asked the capital to offer support to victims and their families.
He also called on local authorities to inspect and suspend any karaoke bars or restaurants that violate fire safety regulations.
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The fire broke out Tuesday afternoon at an eight-story karaoke parlor in Hanoi and quickly spread to several nearby buildings housing restaurants and other karaoke parlors.
The fire spread to three neighboring buildings and incinerated a car, along with many motorbikes on the street.
Local reports said it took firefighters about five hours to put out the fire. A hospital in the capital is treating two police officers who were injured while dousing the fire.
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VnExpress quoted Maj. Gen. Doan Viet Manh of the fire department as saying that 13 bodies were recovered from the scene.
However, government officials were not available for comment late Tuesday.
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A report by Reuters said Police in charge of fire fighting ordered an urgent inspection on fire preventive measures in public places in major cities nationwide. The wide-scale inspections focused on karaoke parlors, discotheques, bars and restaurants, the news agency quoted the government as saying.
Although karaoke is a popular entertainment choice among many Vietnamese, especially among large groups, safety standards at venues remain poor with many conducting fire drills only rarely and some failing to provide exits.
Dozens of major fires have been reported in Vietnam in recent years due to widespread disregard for fire regulations.
Additional reporting by the Associated Press