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​At least 5 dead in fire at old villa in Vietnam’s Da Lat

Tuesday, March 13, 2018, 11:23 GMT+7
​At least 5 dead in fire at old villa in Vietnam’s Da Lat
Firefighters put out the fire at an old villa in Da Lat City, Vietnam, March 12, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre

At least five people, including a family of four, were killed in a fire that broke out on Monday evening at an old villa in Da Lat City in Vietnam’s Central Highlands.

The fire reportedly started at around 8:00 pm, when locals heard two small explosions and saw smoke coming from an extension of the villa at number 13 Tran Hung Dao Street.

Authorities identified a married couple and their two children, aged 16 and 14, as among the five found dead inside the building after the flames had been put out.

The remaining victim has not been identified, but is speculated to be a friend who was visiting the family when tragedy struck.

The victims’ bodies are being kept at a morgue at the General Hospital of Lam Dong Province. Their funerals will be paid for by the provincial administration, according to Lam Dong chairman Doan Van Viet.

All residents at the villa complex have been relocated to a temporary shelter while investigation is ongoing to determine the cause of the fire.

A fire consumes an extension of an old villa in Da Lat City, Vietnam, March 12, 2018. Clip: Tuoi Tre

The 457-square-meter villa where the fire happened is a state property which has been turned into a slum by dozens of occupants spanning generations.

The decades-old building is in degradation due to poor upkeep and extensions added over time by its residents.

After the war ended in 1975, many French-style villas in Da Lat were left in disuse and became shelters for homeless people and the poor.

These new ‘owners’ occupied the public villas and turned free space into their own ‘nests,’ partitioned by sheets of plywood, until there was no more room left.

Such ‘villa slums’ are particularly prone to fire due to the use of wood as a building material and the lack of safety measures.

Rescuers search for survivors in the fire at an old villa in Da Lat City, Vietnam, March 12, 2018. Clip: Tuoi Tre

The remains of an extension of an old villa in Da Lat City, Vietnam after it was engulfed in flames on the evening of March 12, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre
The remains of an extension of an old villa in Da Lat City, Vietnam after it was engulfed in flames on the evening of March 12, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Firefighters put out the fire at an old villa in Da Lat City, Vietnam, March 12, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Firefighters put out the fire at an old villa in Da Lat City, Vietnam, March 12, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Ambulances and fire trucks are seen near the sight of fire at an old villa in Da Lat City, Vietnam, March 12, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Ambulances and fire trucks are seen near the sight of fire at an old villa in Da Lat City, Vietnam, March 12, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Ambulances and fire trucks are seen near the sight of fire at an old villa in Da Lat City, Vietnam, March 12, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Ambulances and fire trucks are seen near the sight of fire at an old villa in Da Lat City, Vietnam, March 12, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre
An electrician cuts power off the area where a fire consumes an extension of an old villa in Da Lat City, Vietnam, March 12, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre
An electrician cuts power off the area where a fire consumes an extension of an old villa in Da Lat City, Vietnam, March 12, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre

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TUAN SON / TUOI TRE NEWS

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