HANOI – A double blast rocked through a residential street in District 3 of Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam, just after midnight on Saturday, destroying three houses and killing 10 people.
NDJ World | Published: Feb 24 2013 Asia→World News
Preliminary investigations reveal the explosions occurred at the house rented by Le Minh Phuong, a special effects artist who has been working independently for movie industries for at least 6 or 7 years.
Phuong (58), whose nickname is ‘Phuong of Smoke and Fire’ was reportedly creating smoke and fire effects for the Lac Viet film studio based in Vietnam, when the explosions occurred.
Early reports indicate that Le Minh Phuong and a family of seven, including a housemaid, are among those who died in the explosions.
Eyewitness living nearby Phuong’s residents say they heard two explosions at five minutes interval. When they rushed outside, they saw three houses with collapsed walls on fire.
The blasts were so powerful they created a shock-wave that shook houses and shattered windows several hundred meters from ground zero.
Nguyen Hoang Phuc from Phu Nhuan, one of first people at the scene, said: “When I was at a coffee shop nearby, I started hearing huge sounds of something exploding. When I came to the scene, the house numbered 384/9 was engulfed in flames. I and other friends tried to knock on doors of other houses in the area to wake them up but saw nobody.”
A local security guard said many of his co-workers worked together to rescue a man from a collapsed house.
Hundreds of firefighters and more than 12 fire trucks reported to the scene of destruction.
As of 5:00 AM Sunday morning, rescuers found the bodies of a mother and her daughter under the debris. Five more bodies were pulled out of the rubble by 8:30 AM on Sunday.
Police have since confirmed that the bodies recovered from the rubble are those of Le Minh Phuong and five of his family members, including Phuong’s 7-year-old youngest daughter. Two more bodies have yet to be identified.
Local authorities are still examining the cause of the catastrophe and rescuers continue to work around the clock in search of survivors.
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