The Hanoi Police Department reported in a statement that "56 people have died and 37 have been injured," noting that of the deceased, 39 have been identified.
A 44-year-old local man, owner of the nine-story apartment block in Thanh Xuan district, was prosecuted and arrested for violating fire prevention and extinguishing regulations.
The fire broke out before midnight on Tuesday on the second floor of the block, which covers an area of more than 200 square meters in Khuong Dinh neighborhood. An estimated 150 people lived in the block.
According to the latest reports, the fire has been extinguished, and rescue teams are now focusing on searching for bodies and possible survivors.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has already ordered an investigation and asked the relevant forces to quickly deal with the aftermath of the deadly fire and trace the cause. The minister also conveyed on behalf of the government his deepest condolences to the families of the victims, and urged Hà Nội to provide them with material and spiritual support.
In the first eight months of this year, Vietnam recorded 1,286 fires and explosions, killing 69 people, injuring 64 others and causing material losses of nearly 8.3 million dollars, according to data from the country's General Statistics Office.