Magwe Karaoke Lounge Fire Kills 15

By Pe Thet Htet Khin 3 April 2017

NAYPYIDAW — A fire at a karaoke lounge in Magwe Township killed 11 men and four women on Sunday night, according to police.

The fire was likely caused by an overheating switch, according to U Aung Win Sein, head of Magwe Division Fire Services Department.

Police have opened a case against the owners of the karaoke lounge, whom have reportedly run away.

The victims may have been overcome by poisonous smoke from combusting insulation sponge used to soundproof the karaoke rooms, U Aung win Sein told The Irrawaddy.

“The smoke from soundproofing sponge is far more poisonous than smoke from wood—one may lose consciousness as soon as they inhale it,” he added.

The owner was running the KTV lounge in a residential building and the building did not have enough entrances and exits, according to U Aung Win Sein.

“The building had no exit on one side, so people were trapped and died,” he said.

The Shwe Myat Minthamee KTV Bar had been open for nearly a month, according to Ko Wai Lin Aung, who lived nearby.

“I think the bar organized a party on Sunday. When the fire started, bar workers climbed onto the roof with buckets of water, but the blaze quickly got out of control,” he told The Irrawaddy.

The building itself was made of bricks and mortar but the inside rooms and corridors were built from plywood, he said.

“I saw a girl jump off a first-floor balcony to escape the blaze—she is now in hospital,” a man who witnessed the fire, Ko Kyaw Htet Myat, told The Irrawaddy.

Most of the victims were believed to be young persons from Magwe and Minbu townships, according to authorities.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.