Sunday , June 23 2024

Customers disdained safety instructions in Binh Duong karaoke fire: police

When fire engulfed a karaoke parlor in Binh Duong Province on Tuesday night, customers refused to heed employees’ pleas to flee, the local police said.

Colonel Trinh Ngoc Quyen, director of the Binh Duong Police Department, said most rooms at An Phu karaoke parlor were locked from inside, and it took firefighters a while to break down the doors.

Most of the customers were drunk when the fire broke out, he said at a press conference Thursday morning.

The fire at the karaoke place on Tran Quang Dieu Street in Thuan An Town made headlines after it killed 33 customers and employees.

According to the official report, the fire broke out at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday following several blasts.

At the time there were around 60 people inside, including 30 customers in five of the bar’s 29 rooms.

Quyen said: “When the employee in charge of managing the facility informed the customers about the fire and told them to leave, the customers refused and kept singing. In one room, customers even tried to pull that employee into the room.”

The three-story parlor has an area of 1,500 sq.m and the fire affected 400 sq.m on the second and third floors.

The parlor staff were not able to contain the fire as the soundproof foam mattresses and wooden interiors began to burn. Many people were forced to rush out to the balcony.

Four were injured after jumping down from a height of 7-8 meters from the second floor.

The fire service dispatched 13 trucks and 70 firemen to the scene.

As of Wednesday afternoon the death toll was thought to be 14 before nine more bodies were found in the evening.

By night it was officially announced that 33 had died, including one in hospital. The victims included 16 women.

Owned by a local man named Le Anh Xuan, 42, it was certified by the authorities as meeting fire prevention requirements in February 2017 based on its design and equipment.

Since it opened in 2016 it has been inspected for fire safety once each in 2019, 2021 and 2022 and cleared every time.

At the press conference, also attended by Mai Hung Dung, deputy chairman of the province, and Truong Thi Bich Hanh, head of its propaganda department, the cause of the fire was not revealed.

Authorities have said the police are still investigating.

The police said it might have been caused by a power surge in a room on the third floor.

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