12 dead in Vietnam karaoke bar fire

At least 12 people died and 40 others were injured in a fire at a karaoke bar in southern Vietnam, state media reported on Wednesday.

The fire broke out on Tuesday night at the bar in Binh Duong province, an industrial production hub near Ho Chi Minh City, according to the official Vietnam News Agency.

Among the injured, 11 were in serious condition, the report said.

“When the fire broke out, I was so panicked and ran for safety and can’t remember how it happened,” a witness, who identified herself only as Quynh, was quoted as saying in the report.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on Wednesday ordered the Ministry of Public Security and provincial authorities to investigate the cause of the fire.

Chinh also ordered cities and provinces across the Southeast Asian country to step safety standards at facilities prone to fire, including at karaoke bars.

Karaoke is popular in Vietnam, but lax safety standards at venues have raised concerns. Three firefighters were killed in a fire at another karaoke bar in Hanoi last month.

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