A plastic recycling factory in Hanoi that burned down Tuesday exposed the copper core of nearby power cables.
A machine that melts plastic scrap for making rope is suspected to have caused a power leakage that started the fire at around 2 p.m., the local newswire Dan Tri reported.
Dao Dang Hung, the factory owner, his wife and three workers ran out of the factory just minutes before it was burnt to the ground, according to the newswire VOVNews.
Dao Ngoc Bich, who lives across the street, said she had to spray water on power cables in front of her door, which were far from the fire enough not to be exposed.
Concrete ceilings of the factory kept producing sound of cracks around ten minutes after the fire started and quickly collapsed with the walls, Bich recalled.
Five fire trucks were rushed to the spot but the firefighters could only enter the 200 square meter factory after half an hour as the entrance to the factory was small.
Local residents said a large amount of plastic sacks and plastic scrap had been piled up to the factory's ceiling before the fire started.
The three-storey house next door was severely damaged as the factory didn't build walls and used its walls instead. Its glass windows were shattered and its aluminium doors melted and bent. The walls lost their mortar on the outside and had cracks on the inside.
Hung had been operating the factory for a year or so, but it was poorly built and ill-equipped to fight fire, officials said.
Many other families at Trung Van Commune, Tu Liem District, are operating similar factories in such poor conditions, authorities said.
Police said they are investigating the incident to ascertain its cause.