A minimum of 19 people have been reported dead as fire engulfed a karaoke bar following a scuffle between rival gangs in Indonesia, said police.
Adam Erwini, a spokesman for West Papua police, stated that: “Fights among youths in cities are normal, but that it has caused so many deaths, that is a first,”
Erwini said the deadly incident at the entertainment venue in Sorong was still under investigation, and it was unclear if the death toll would rise.
Dedi Prasetyo, a spokesman for Indonesia’s national police said the brawl was between two rival gangs from the neighboring island of Maluku.
Pictures obtained from the karaoke bar shows how fire it completely engulfed with people takin cover behind a car for protection against the flames.
Erwini added that the investigation would include police officers speaking to the leaders of this rival gangs to know what may have caused the dispute.
It is also reported that vehicles outside the karaoke bar were set on fire during the fight.
Sorong Metropolitan Police Chief Grand Commissioner Attendant Ary Nyoto Setiawan said that fire fighters found 11 bodies in one room.
“We thought everyone inside the karaoke house had evacuated when police came to the scene to help rescue people. However, when fire workers arrived to put out the flame, they found 11 bodies in one room,” Mr Nyoto Setiawan told local media.
“We don’t know with certainty the number of casualties as the investigation is underway but the fire department pulled 11 bodies from a room in the karaoke house and another victim who died from stab wounds has been evacuated earlier.”