Married father and young jobseeker among victims of Oldham mill fire

Twenty-one-year-old victim told family he was living in derelict house and looking for work three days before blaze

Chiara Giordano
Friday 05 August 2022 10:26 BST
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Police have named four people believed to have been in the mill at the time of the fire
Police have named four people believed to have been in the mill at the time of the fire (GMP)

A married father and a 21-year-old man who arrived in the UK just seven months ago are thought to be among four Vietnamese nationals who died in a mill fire.

Police have released the identities of the four men for the first time after human remains were found by demolition workers at Bismark House Mill in Oldham, Greater Manchester, last month following a fire on 7 May.

Investigators said Cuong Van Chu, 39, arrived in the UK in June 2019 and maintained regular contact with his wife and children until 7 May, but his family had not heard from him since.

Nam Thanh Le, 21, who arrived in the UK in January, last contacted his family on 4 May when he said he was living in a derelict house in “Dam”, believed to be Oldham, and looking for work.

Uoc Van Nguyen, 31, was also in regular contact with his wife until 7 May, when he said he was in a mill, police said.

The fourth missing person was named as Duong Van Nguyen, 29, who had been in the UK for about a year and last contacted his family about three months ago, when he said he was living in an “abandoned house” and looking for work.

Cuong Van Chu’s family has not heard from him since 7 May (Greater Manchester Police)

On Friday, a spokesman for Greater Manchester Police named all four men, who were reported missing on 21 July.

Detective Superintendent Lewis Hughes said: “Our thoughts remain with Cuong, Uoc, Duong and Nam’s loved ones. Specially-trained officers have been in direct contact with them and continue to make every effort to ensure they are fully updated and supported in Vietnam, as they would be in the United Kingdom.

“We are continuing to search Bismark House Mill to ensure the recovery of all human remains and any objects of significance. Meanwhile, the investigation team is following several lines of enquiry relating to the fire and activities at the mill beforehand.

Nam Thanh Le arrived in the UK earlier this year (Greater Manchester Police)

“Though we have reason to suspect that Cuong, Uoc, Duong and Nam may have been in the mill during the fire, we are keeping an open mind with regards to how many people were present and their whereabouts.

“I, therefore, appeal to them or anyone with information about their whereabouts before or after the fire to contact us. I stress that their safety and welfare is our number one priority.

Duong Van Nguyen lost contact with his family about three months ago (Greater Manchester Police)

“We also continue to appeal for information about the fire or activities at the mill beforehand.”

Since the search began on 23 July, human remains indicating three victims have been discovered. None of them have been formally identified.

Uoc Van Nguyen told his wife he was in a mill (Greater Manchester Police)

At the time of the blaze, which was extinguished over four days, no one was believed to have been inside the building, police said.

Anyone with information should contact Greater Manchester Police via 101 quoting Operation Logan or submit information in English or Vietnamese via the Major Incident Public Portal at mipp.police.uk.

Information can also be shared anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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