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Hanoi family evades house fire via balcony escape

A mother and her family, including two children, managed to escape a house fire in Hanoi by climbing onto a neighbors’ balcony.

At around 5 a.m. Wednesday, the fire broke out in their house on Vinh Phuc Street of Ba Dinh District. Five people were inside the house: Tam and her husband, his mother, and two children.

When the 12-year-old child woke his everybody up, warning of fire, the entire family was on the third floor except for Tam’s mother-in-law who was on the second floor.

Fire spreads over several floors of a Hanoi house, May 17, 2023. Photo obtained by VnExpress
Fire spreads over several floors of a Hanoi house, May 17, 2023. Photo obtained by VnExpress

Tam panicked when she saw smoke engulfing the house. She went into the bathroom and soaked towels with water, using them to cover her face as she looked for her keys.

“I planned to go down to the ground floor to open the gates, but the flames were too big and the smoke was everywhere like a furnace, so I had to go to the balcony to call passersby for help and throw the keys to someone,” she said.

Once the gates were opened, many neighbors came to the rescue.

Tam and her two children managed to escape through the neighbours’ balcony, while Tam’s husband, Dao Nguyen Quang, climbed from the third floor’s balcony down to the second floor to save his 78-year-old mother. A neighbour prepared a ladder to help them get down.

A still from video footage shows a family in Hanoi escaping a house fire through the balcony. Photo obtained by VnExpress
A still from video footage shows a family in Hanoi escaping a house fire through the balcony. Photo obtained by VnExpress

“Everything happened in about 10 minutes. After we escaped, the flames continued to rage,” Quang said, adding that he had never gone through such a life-or-death experience.

Five hours after the fire, Tam has still not calmed down completely. But she was glad that the entire family got out safely.

Dozens of firefighters and vehicles were dispatched to the scene, and the fire was put out in about 8 minutes. The entire ordeal ended at around 5:20 a.m.

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