Family of 3 killed in fire in Ho Chi Minh City

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A firefighter climbs up into the burning house in Ho Chi Minh City Tuesday night looking for victims. Three members of a family were killed. Photos by Doc Lap

Three people belonging to a family were killed in Ho Chi Minh City Tuesday night in a fire that broke out in their house where they were selling inflammable votive objects.

Police have identified the victims as Huynh To Ha, 59, his wife Lam To Chau, 56, and their daughter Huynh Chi Quyen, 22.

Their bodies were found in a second-floor bedroom in the three-story house on Han Hai Nguyen Street, District 11, which had also doubled as the shop selling the votive papers, incense sticks, and other materials.

Eyewitnesses said two domestic workers -- a man and a woman, who have not been identified -- had managed to escape by jumping over to a neighbor's balcony soon after the fire started at around 10 p.m.

It took until 1 a.m. to put the fire out and the bodies were removed more than an hour later.

Locals had tried to help using fire extinguishers and buckets of water before dozens of firefighters and 15 fire trucks reached the spot.

The firemen's efforts were hindered by furniture and smoke inside the house.

Three neighboring houses were slightly damaged while hundreds of panicked locals were seen collecting their valuables, ready to flee.

A local woman named Thu, who had been having a drink across the street, said she had heard loud explosions from the house several minutes before the fire.

"A transformer near the house was blown away and the entire area lost power," she said.

The police are investigating the cause of the fire.

Five people belonging to the family of a movie explosive props master died in Ho Chi Minh City on February 24 along with their domestic help and five neighbors after gunpowder exploded and started a fire.

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