HANOI (Vietnam News/Asia News Network):The cause of the fatal blaze that claimed 56 lives in a mini apartment building in Hanoi on Sept 12 night was determined to be a short circuit in the electrical wiring of a gasoline-powered motor scooter parked on the building’s first floor, the investigative police agency of the Hanoi Police Department announced on Wednesday (Sept 20).
According to the forensic conclusion, the origin of the fire was concluded to be located in the area adjacent to the southern wall, approximately 2.3m from the eastern wall on the first floor inside the 200sq m residential building that houses about 150 people at No 37, Alley 29/70 Khuong Ha Street, Khuong Dinh Ward, Thanh Xuan District.
The scooter in question was positioned adjacent to the southern wall on the first floor.
The fire spread to the electrical cable area, the electric meter boxes attached to the first-floor wall, and then continued to spread, resulting in the particularly serious incident with the highest death toll in recent years in Vietnam.
Also, according to the forensic conclusion, out of the four fire extinguishers sent for examination, three were left unused, and one had been used.
The day after the incident, on Sept 13, the Hanoi Police initiated a criminal case and issued an arrest warrant for provisional detention (four months) against Nghiem Quang Minh (born in 1979, residing in Yen Hoa Ward, Cau Giay District, Hanoi), the owner of the apartment building, on charges of violating regulations on fire prevention and fighting under Article 313 of the Penal Code.
The leader of Hanoi Police Department is currently directing the investigation unit to continue with the probe and prosecution in accordance with the law and actively cooperate with the city's departments, agencies, and Thanh Xuan District People's Committee to visit, comfort, and support the families of the victims.
In the wake of the blaze, the authorities of the two biggest cities in the country with densely packed populations, Hanoi and HCM City, have ordered inspections of all mini apartment and rental buildings for planning, construction, and fire safety issues.