A blaze broke out at 4.15am on Friday, causing smoke to cover block B of M3-M4 Thanh Cong apartment building in Nguyen Chi Thanh, Hanoi’s Dong Da district.
Nguyen Dinh Hai, a security guard who was on the night shift, said he smelled something burning and discovered fire coming from the second floor, followed by the sound of explosions.
Hai called out and later with other security guards used extinguishers to put out the fire.
“There was a lot of smoke, we had to take the stairs to get out and call the fire department,” Hai said.
Upon receiving reports, the department sent five fire trucks to the scene.
As black smoke covered the stairs and corridors, firefighters had to open doors and break glass for the smoke to get out.
At 7am the fire was extinguished and residents at the apartment were evacuated.
People living in the building said they did not hear the fire alarm ring.
“The fire happened early in the morning when we were sleeping. When we were rescued by fire fighters, no one heard the alarm,” said Pham Huy Thong, who lives in room 1704.
“My family were sleeping when we were awakened by burning smell. We turned on the light but the power was cut. I took a flashlight to check the corridor and the smoke went into my face andnose, leaving me breathless,” said Ngo Ngoc Huy at room 101.
Huy said his 80-year old mother had to find towels to cover the gap under the door so that smoke would not come inside the house. They also put wet towels on their faces and waited for help on the balcony.
Police at the scene said the initial cause of the fire was due to a short circuit in an electricity management room on the second floor, where a parking lot is also located.
The fire spread through electricity pipes to the 21st floor, causing block B of the building to be flooded with smoke.
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