At least 32 dead in fire at karaoke parlor in south Vietnam

Duong Trei Tuong/VNA via AP
Fire department trucks line outside a karaoke parlor following a fire Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, in Thuan An city, southern Vietnam.

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — The death toll from a fire at a karaoke parlor in southern Vietnam has risen to 32 and some parts of the building remain inaccessible more than a day later, state media reported.

The fire that began late Tuesday trapped workers and customers inside the multi-story venue in Thuan An city in Binh Duong province, state media said. The fire was brought under control quickly but smoldered into the next day.

Vietnam News Agency reported 32 deaths from the blaze as of late Wednesday and at least one karaoke room and one storage room have not been accessed because the temperature remained high.

Some people were injured from asphyxiation and others suffered broken limbs when they jumped from upper floors to try to escape the fire, reports said. Firefighters using ladders from their trucks managed to rescue others.

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc extended his condolences to families of the victims and asked government officials to support the families and quickly find the cause of the blaze. The preliminary finding was that it was caused by an electrical short circuit and started on the second or third floor.

Enforcement of safety standards at entertainment venues in many parts of Southeast Asia is sometimes lax and believed to contribute to multiple deaths in case of fires.

Police in Thailand said that a pub in the eastern province of Chonburi was presenting live entertainment without a license when a fire broke out in early August, trapping many people inside because exits were blocked or locked.

The toll from that fire has climbed to 23 dead, 13 of them on the night of the blaze and 10 in the month since then. Many had serious burns over most of their bodies, which are extremely difficult to guard against deadly infections. At least five other victims are believed to still be on ventilators.