A short circuit in the electrical advertisement board of a karaoke parlor has been blamed for a fire late Tuesday that spread to several nearby shops and houses in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, killing one man.
“Preliminary investigation found that the fire spread from the ad board of New Karaoke at 180 Tran Quoc Thao Street,” Nguyen Van Dieu, chairman of District 3 People’s Committee told the media on Wednesday.
The identity of the ill-fated man, whose body was found at the nearby Idol karaoke parlor, was not available as of press time.
A Thanh Nien News reporter at the fire scene found a woman who claimed to be the girlfriend of the victim, who were among a group of some five customers in a room on the first floor at Idol karaoke parlor.
"He was in the toilet at that time. We called him and he said he was too drunk and was unable to get out due to smoke. He did not reply to any of our calls later," the young woman said in panic.
According to District 3 authorities, the fire destroyed five nearby houses and damaged three others.
A nearby Suzuki vehicle shop was also burned down in the fire, which broke out at around 9 p.m. December 30
More than 200 firefighters with 28 fire trucks have been mobilized to the site and the fire was extinguished around midnight.
Police have arrested two men for allegedly looting a motorbike and stealing cell phones at the site.
According to the city Firefighting Police Department, people living in the six houses affected by the fire have found temporary accommodation and local authorities have arranged accommodation for those from the two remaining damaged houses.
The fire scene has been barricaded as police are investigating the case further.