The body of one of the deceased students
Four students were killed and one was injured at their boarding house in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday as one of them reportedly tried to make firecrackers.
Buying chemicals for the purposes of making firecrackers in residential areas is illegal in Vietnam.
Nguyen Thi Nam, 59, the owner of the house in District 10, said she heard three loud explosions which came from a block of three rooms on the second floor at around 2 p.m., and then saw a fire break out.
Many people tried to extinguish the blaze and rescue Le Van Ha, 20, Doan Van Hieu, 23, Bui Quoc Loi, 21, Nguyen Hoang Nhan, 22, and Ngo Quang Thien, 20, while waiting for the firefighters to arrive.
It took the firefighters more than half an hour to approach the burning rooms, located atop a spiral staircase in the building nestled into a nook of a narrow alleyway.
Hieu, Loi, Nhan and Thien died on the spot, while Ha was rushed to Trung Vuong Hospital with severe burns on his arms, face and neck.
Lieutenant Colonel Huynh Quang Tam, head of the District 1 Fire Fighting and Prevention Department, said he did not find any gas cylinders, gas stoves or other equipment and machines that might have caused the explosions "“ only some chemicals.
Van, Hieu's roommate who was at school when the explosion happened, said Hieu had bought chemicals to make firecrackers for the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday.
Nam, the house's owner, told news website VnExpress she never allowed lodgers to cook to prevent fires and explosions.
"I did not anticipate that the student would make firecrackers and cause such terribly painful consequences," she said.
Police are investigating.
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