HÀ NỘI — At least four people were killed, including a 32-year-old woman and her eight-year-old daughter, and 10 others injured after an explosion occurred on Saturday afternoon in Hà Đông District’s Văn Phú Residential Area. The explosion seriously damaged 36 apartments in the residential area and slightly harmed 95 others.
Witnesses at the scene said they suspected the explosion was caused by a bomb.
Colonel Dương Văn Giáp, head of the city’s Police Department of Criminal Investigation on Social Order (PC 45) yesterday said the police collected several metal pieces at the scene identified as materials that could be used to make a bomb.
Initial investigations from the Ministry of Public Security indicated that gunpowder used to create the bomb caused the explosion.
The police said Phạm Văn Cường, 41, of northern Nam Định Province’s Nam Hùng Village, a scrap collector, who rented one first-floor apartment at No 15-TT 19 of the residential area to run his scrap shop, was identified as the culprit. Cường was one of the dead victims.
At about 3:10pm on Saturday, the blast occurred when Cường took an object shaped like an oxygen cylinder in front of his shop and tried to cut it up to sell. The cylinder had a diameter of 40-45 cm, a length of 80 cm and weighed more than 100 kg. The blast left a 4-square-metre crater at the scene.
Chairman of the capital People’s Committee Nguyễn Đức Chung ordered authorised agencies to give financial support to the families of the deceased VNĐ5 million (US$224) each, families of seriously-injured people VNĐ3 million ($134) each and families of injured people VNĐ2 million ($90) each.
For people whose apartments were damaged by the blast, Chung required the authorised agencies to arrange temporary accommodation for them until the situation was fixed.
The police investigation is ongoing.
Shares from survivors
The two seriously-injured people were taken to the Military Hospital 103 while the injured people were hospitalised at the Hà Đông General Hospital immediately after the blast.
Lê Thị Kim Phương, 33, who lives in the bloc opposite the blast scene, received 40 stitches on her faces and arms and said “I heard a boom when I was bringing orange juice to my daughter.”
“Glass doors suddenly shattered near me, I shielded myself from the glass with my arms,” she added.
Trần Thanh Huyền, 26, who was also injured in the blast, said “Within 5-7 seconds, tables, chairs and glass doors were totally broken.”
“I saw nothing but burnt-down motorbikes, uprooted trees and things that had collapsed,” she said. — VNS