Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Amelia Hill

Oldham mill fire: human remains confirmed as four separate victims

A photo of the four missing Vietnamese nationals.
The four Vietnamese nationals: top left: Cuong Van Chu, top right: Uoc Van Nguyen (who has been formally identified), bottom left: Duong Van Nguyen and bottom right: Nam Thanh Lee Photograph: Greater Manchester Police

Human remains discovered by workers demolishing a mill in Oldham have been confirmed as four separate victims, including one identified as a Vietnamese national, police have said.

It was not believed anyone was inside at the time of the fire at Bismark House Mill on Bower Street in May. But after remains were discovered on 23 July, police confirmed that four Vietnamese people were missing.

Some of those remains have now been identified, through fingerprint analysis, as belonging to 31-year-old Vietnamese national, Uoc Van Nguyen. Nguyen maintained regular contact with his wife until the date of the fire. In his last message, he said he was in a mill.

The other three missing Vietnamese people have also been named. Cuong Van Chu, 39, who arrived in the UK in June 2019, was also in regular contact with his wife and children, who have not heard from him since 7 May.

Duong Van Nguyen, 29, arrived in the UK about 12 months ago. He last contacted his family three months ago, at which time he said he was living in “an abandoned house” while looking for work.

Nam Thanh Lee, 21, arrived in the UK in January 2022. He last contacted his family on 4 May, at which time he said he was living in “a derelict house” in “Dam” – which the police believe is a reference to Oldham – while looking for work.

It took firefighters from Greater Manchester fire and rescue service four days to extinguish the fire in early May. Detectives are still working to establish the cause of the blaze.

Det Supt Lewis Hughes, GMP’s victim identification lead, said: “Our thoughts remain with the families in Vietnam, who are being fully updated and supported by specially trained officers.

“Though we have now recovered human remains confirming four victims and are in the process of formal identification, the search of the site will continue until there is no realistic likelihood of recovering further human remains or objects of significance. It is, therefore, likely to continue for several more weeks.

“Meanwhile, officers from our major incident team are continuing to follow several lines of inquiry relating to the fire and activities at the mill beforehand. Any criminal offences identified as part of their investigation will be progressed immediately and appropriately.

“Anyone with information which may assist us should contact Greater Manchester police,” he added. “Or, if they would like to remain anonymous, they can share information via the independent charity, Crimestoppers.”

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.