Vietnam relic fire suspects work for government: police

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The Lang house which was destroyed in a fire October 24 in the northern province of Hoa Binh / PHOTO COURTESY OF MUONG CULTURAL SPACE MUSEUM

Police in the northern province of Hoa Binh said four people suspected of starting a fire that burned down a century-old ethnic house last month are local government workers.

The two men and two women, whose identities have not been disclosed, have been summoned for questioning about the fire at the privately-owned Muong Cultural Space Museum.

The four visited the museum in two cars at around 7 p.m. on October 24, ordered a dinner at the Lang house, and lit a fire to grill corn while waiting for the meal to be served by the museum staff.  

When the fire broke out, they did not call the staff for help, but, instead, fled.

With firefighters being delayed by road repairs, 90 percent of the 150-square-meter wooden building was destroyed along with a collection of nearly 200 original Muong cultural relics. 

The house was believed to be the last Lang house, a term referring to nobility which formerly ruled the Muong in Vietnam.

It originally belonged to Ha Thi Loi and her family in Tan Lac District until Vu Duc Hieu, director of the museum, bought it in 2007 for restoration and preservation.

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