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Hotel ceiling collapse due to gas explosion, says police officer

VGP – The inspection carried out by the Ministry of Public Security’s Criminal Science Institute proved that the December 06 collapse of part of the lobby ceiling at the five-star Caravelle Hotel in District 1, Hồ Chí Minh City, was caused by the explosion of a high concentration of methane gas in the basement.

12/10/2008 09:21

Caravelle Hotel on December 06 – Photo: VOV

At 9.52 PM last Saturday, a 20-square-meter area of gypsum ceiling in the lobby of Caravelle Hotel collapsed, causing a fire and the fall of a stainless steel canopy. Only two workers were injured.

The city Police Department immediately dispatched 63 policemen and 7 rescue vehicles to the site to evacuate guests and workers.

A joint inspecting team from the Ministry of Public Security’s Criminal Science Institute and the City Police Department examined the accident site, discovering a high concentration of methane gas in the basement.

Investigators said the hotel’s poorly-ventilated basement was used to store petroleum, gasoline, and garbage. Methane gas produced by the organic waste could have built up and exploded when catching a spark in the air.

In the press briefing on Monday, Colonel Phan Anh Minh, deputy director of the City Police Department, confirmed that there was no trace of sabotage or explosives.

By Phương Hạnh