Friday , July 19 2024

Fire breaks out at HCMC Lotte shopping center

A fire erupted at a fast-food restaurant by the entrance of the Lotte Mart shopping center in District 7, HCMC, causing widespread panic among staff and customers.

Thick smoke engulfed the supermarkets floors. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Bang

Thick smoke engulfs Lotte Mart’s floors in HCMC’s District 7, Dec. 22, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Bang

A fried chicken eatery on the ground floor of the Lotte Mart, located on Nguyen Huu Tho Street, was the source of the fire on Friday evening. Black smoke was seen billowing, followed by flames that quickly spread to the ceiling, intensifying rapidly.

The incident occurred during a busy weekend shopping period, leading to urgent evacuation efforts.

Hoa, an employee at a nearby hotpot restaurant, described first noticing smoke and a burning odor, shortly before the fire broke out. The black smoke rapidly spread to the supermarket’s higher floors, causing panic and prompting evacuations via the stairs. Chaos ensued outside the supermarket’s entrance.

Nguyen Tang Phong, a customer, reported seeing smoke while outside the supermarket but initially heard no alarms. It wasn’t until he alerted security and urged them to assist in extinguishing the fire that alarms and announcements were made throughout the building.

People gather outside the supermarkets entrance, searching for their relatives post-evacuation. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van

People gather outside Lotte Mart’s entrance in HCMC’s District 7, searching for their relatives post-evacuation, Dec. 22, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van

The blaze was extinguished within 10 minutes as staff utilized fire extinguishers and water.

Several fire engines and over 20 firefighters were dispatched to the site. They cooled the affected area with water hoses to prevent the fire from reigniting.

Police reports indicate that the fire originated in a 3-square-meter kitchen space of the restaurant. Approximately 1,000 individuals, comprising customers and staff, successfully evacuated.

There were no fatalities reported; however, significant property and merchandise damage occurred at the eatery. Authorities are currently investigating the cause.

Lotte Mart District 7, a popular shopping and entertainment venue in Ho Chi Minh City, is owned by South Korea’s Lotte Group. Spanning three floors with a total area of 34,000 square meters, it has been operational since 2008.

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