HANOI (Vietnam News/Asia News Network) - 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 a residential district in Hanoi.
The explosion seriously damaged 36 apartments in the residential and slightly harmed 95 others. The blast left a 4-square-metre crater at the scene.
Witnesses at the scene said they suspected the explosion was caused by a bomb.
Colonel Duong Van Giáp, head of the city's Police Department of Criminal Investigation on Social Order (PC 45) 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 Pham Van Cuong, 41, of northern Nam Ðinh Province's Nam Hùng Village, 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. Cuong was one of those killed in the blast.
At about 3:10pm on Saturday, the blast occurred when Cuong 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 80cm and weighed more than 100kg.
Chairman of the capital People's Committee Nguyen Ðuc Chung ordered authorised agencies to give financial support to the families of the deceased VNÐ5 million (S$305) each, families of seriously-injured people VNÐ3 million each and families of the injured VNÐ2 million 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.
Two seriously-injured residents were taken to the Military Hospital 103 while others were hospitalised at the Hà Ðông General Hospital immediately after the blast.
Lê Thi Kim Phuong, 33, who lives in the block opposite the blast scene, received 40 stitches on her faces and arms. She 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.
Tran Thanh Huyen, 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."