Southern Vietnam: Karaoke bar caught fire, at least 33 people died, and 40 survived

A karaoke bar caught fire in Binh Duong province, killing 33 people on September 7, 2022.

A karaoke bar burned for hours from the evening of September 6 to the next day in Vietnam’s southern province of Binh Duong, killing at least 33 people, Vietnam’s state-controlled media reported on September 7. Emergency response forces saved more than 30 lives from the fire, according to local media.

The fire broke out at a karaoke bar called An Phu, in An Phu ward, Thuan An city, Binh Duong province. This shop has 29 singing rooms and has been operating since 2016.

The shop was granted a certificate of eligibility for fire prevention and security by the authorities in 2017. After that, the authorities inspected the fire safety at the shop 3 more times in 2019, 2021, and also this year, and 2022.

The People’s Committee of Binh Duong province told the press that the cause of the fire was initially determined to be an electrical short. Provincial police said the fire broke out on the second floor of the facility, which has three floors.

Still, the police said that people in the facility discovered the fire at 8:15 pm on September 6 and by 9:30 pm, the big fire was basically contained, but there was still smoke smoldering in many rooms of the facility for many hours afterward.

Binh Duong’s fire force, later with reinforcements from the fire police of Ho Chi Minh City, continued to spray water to put out the fire from the evening of September 6 to the afternoon of September 7, at the same time breaking down the wall to find the victims.

According to VOA’s observations, the official Facebook page of the Vietnamese government said on the afternoon of September 7 that Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh sent his condolences to the victims’ relatives and families.

The Prime Minister also directed the People’s Committee of Binh Duong province to direct the organization of visits, material and spiritual support to the victims’ families; urgently investigate the cause of the fire, clarify the responsibilities of the individuals and organizations involved, and strictly handle violations, if any.

Still, the PM asked the Ministry of Public Security to coordinate with the authorities of provinces and cities to inspect establishments with high fire risk, especially karaoke service businesses, to rectify and overcome violations, resolutely suspending establishments that fail to ensure fire safety, prevent similar incidents from happening.

Mr. Nguyen Thanh Tam, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Thuan An city, Binh Duong province, said the city supports VND30 million ($1,200) for each case of death; which is VND20 million from the budget, VND10 million from socialization.

For the victims of the fire who had to go to the hospital for treatment, the city supported each case with VND5 million.

According to VOA’s research, in recent years, Vietnam has recorded a number of catastrophic karaoke bar fires with many deaths.

In the first month of August, a fire in Hanoi killed three firefighters while on duty. Another karaoke bar fire, also in Hanoi, in November 2016, killed 13 people in the bar. In addition, in 2013 and 2014, there were at least 3 fires at karaoke bars in Hanoi and Lang Son, killing a total of 15 people. (Translated)