Police on Friday arrested a former director of Hung Thanh Co., developer of the Ho Chi Minh City-based Carina Plaza, one month after a fire broke out and claimed 13 lives at the apartment complex.
Nguyen Van Tung was taken into custody for fours month, accused of violating fire safety regulations at the three-block apartment complex in District 8, police said later the same day.
The former director was arrested while he was attending a company’s meeting at Hung Thanh headquarters in the southern metropolis, as police officers searched the office for documents relevant to the case.
Police have also initiated legal proceedings against him on charges of violating fire safety regulations that led to serious consequences.
A predawn fire occurred on March 23 in a basement located between two apartment blocks A and B, sending toxic smoke up upper floors due to fire doors at all floors being left wide open.
Thirteen people were killed and nearly 100 others were hospitalized in the blaze, which also destroyed hundreds of cars and motorbikes parked in the basement.
No fire alarm was sounded during the entire incident, as residents went door to door to tell others to evacuate.
|Nguyen Van Tung, former director of Hung Thanh Company, developer the Carina Plaza apartment complex in District 8, Ho Chi Minh City, is seen in this photo posted on social media.|
Ho Chi Minh City police launched legal proceedings into the case on March 26, after having collected enough evidence to suggest there was a criminal offense in fire safety.
Investigators have found that the Carina Plaza developer, Hung Thanh Co., had managed to pass several fire safety inspections with borrowed equipment. Local fire authorities just failed to detect that the apartment complex lacks requisite measures to prevent or extinguish a fire, according to the investigators.
The company was also found to have neglected regular maintenance of the fire safety systems at Carina, leading to their non-function during last month’s fire with grave consequences.
Tung, as director of Hung Thanh at the time of the incident, was responsible for these violations, according to police.
Police are still investigating to see if other individuals and entities are also to blame for the fire.