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A fire in an apartment building in Hanoi, Vietnam, kills 14 people and injures 6

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Hanoi (Vietnam), May 24 (AP) An overnight fire in an apartment building on a narrow alley in Vietnam’s capital killed 14 people and injured six others, state media said on Friday.

The apartment building in central Hanoi could only be accessed through an alley just 2 metres (6.5 feet) wide, preventing firetrucks from reaching it, and firefighters eventually contained the fire by using hoses, state media said.

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The fire started around 12:30 a.m. and was accompanied by several explosions, the Vietnam News Agency said. It took an hour to extinguish.

Neighbor Nguyen Thanh Trung said he was asleep when he heard the explosions and rushed out to see what was happening. “I could feel the shock at my house,” he said, adding that he along with others got a ladder to break the window to help people escape.

State media reported the building had 24 residents at the time, seven in the owner’s family and 17 tenants. The injured are stable and being treated at Hanoi Transport Hospital.

The fire started in the small courtyard in front of the building that was used as a garage for the sale and repair of electric bikes, state media reported.

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Trung said the family would often charge the bikes’ batteries at night.

The alley was later cordoned off by police. The charred remains of burnt motorbikes and plants and scattered belongings remained at the apartment.

Authorities said that they would give USD 1,962 to the families of those who died and USD 1,177 to those injured as compensation.

This fire was reminiscent of a September blaze in Hanoi last year where more than 50 people died in similar circumstances. Rescue operations then were also hindered by the city’s narrow lanes. (AP)

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