Vietnamese authorities arrest owner of karaoke bar where blaze killed 32
Published: Sep 18, 2022 09:36 PM
Vietnamese authorities have arrested the owner of a karaoke bar where a fire killed 32 people in earlier September, police said on Saturday.

The blaze ripped through a three-story entertainment venue nine days ago in a dense residential neighborhood of Thuan An city, north of commercial hub Ho Chi Minh City.

It trapped customers and staff as smoke filled the staircase and blocked the emergency exit.

Seventeen people were injured, with many suffering broken bones after the flames forced them to jump from the roof, police said.

Binh Duong provincial police on Saturday confirmed in a statement that bar owner Le Anh Xuan, 42, was arrested a day earlier and would face criminal charges related to breaching fire prevention regulations.

He will be held in custody for four months while the investigation continues, police added.

While 15 of the injured have been released from hospital, two of the most seriously hurt are still receiving medical treatment.

Firefighters initially struggled to enter the building because of the fire's intensity and had to knock down part of a wall to get inside. 

Sixty people were inside the 30-room bar when the fire erupted and eight people were found dead in the bar's toilet.

Authorities initially blamed an electrical short circuit for the blaze but said the bar had met all fire safety standards in checks over the past three years.

Police partly blamed drunken singers. 

"They were drunk. So when the staff at the karaoke bar informed them about the fire... people in some karaoke rooms didn't listen," provincial police chief Trinh Ngoc Quyen said.