The fire broke out on the third floor of the Hanh Long Hotel in District 5 on Tran Hung Dao Street at around 3p.m., witnesses said. The hotel guests on the upper floors were trapped in the building, screaming for help from the windows as thick smoke billowed upwards. Authorities said 19 hotel guests, including 11 foreigners, were plucked to safety by two fire truck lifts. No injuries were reported. “The fire started from in the hotel’s accounting office,” said Captain Tran Quang Son, Deputy Chief of the District 8 Firefighter Department. “All the victims were evacuated without either injury or smoke inhalation.” Fire authorities are investigating the cause of the blaze. The incident took place just one day after a fatal fire broke out in a 20-story apartment building in District 8, which killed 13 and injured 28. It was Saigon’s deadliest blaze in 15 years, after the catastrophic International Trade Center fire that killed 60 people in 2002. Ho Chi Minh City, the largest metropolis in Vietnam, reported more than 1,000 fires last year, which killed 26 people and caused damage worth around US$4 million.
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