Oldham mill fire victims identified using family’s DNA – Quest Media Network

(from top left, clockwise): Cuong Van Chu, Uoc Van Nguyen, Nam Thanh Le and Duong Van Nguyen.

Four Vietnamese men killed in a mill fire in Oldham earlier this year have now been formally identified using DNA samples from family members.

Partial remains of four victims recovered from the site of Bismark House Mill, Bower Street, have been identified as Uoc Van Nguyen, Cuong Van Chu, Duong Van Nguyen and Nam Thanh Lee.

A file has been passed to His Majesty’s Coroner and inquests are due to be opened in the coming weeks.

Teams have been searching the remnants of the mill, which was subject to a fire on Saturday 7 May, since demolition workers discovered human remains on Saturday 23 July. Police say the search is ongoing.

In early autumn, eight Greater Manchester Police officers travelled to Vietnam to obtain statement and DNA samples, required for criminal and coronial proceedings, from 18 individuals across different regions. They also directly appraised Vietnamese officials – including government and law enforcement.

The criminal investigation remains open, with the team previously arresting two individuals who are still on bail.   

  • Uoc maintained regular contact with his wife until the date of the fire, at which time he said he was in a mill.
  • Cuong arrived in the UK in June 2019 – he maintained regular contact with his wife and children but they have not heard from him since Saturday 7 May 2022.
  • Duong arrived in the UK approximately 12 months ago – he last contacted his family in the month before the fire at which time he said he was residing in ‘an abandoned house’ whilst looking for work.
  • Nam arrived in the UK in January 2022 – he last contacted his family on Wednesday 4 May 2022, at which time he said he was residing in ‘a derelict house’ in ‘Dam’, believed to be Oldham, whilst looking for work.

Assistant Chief Constable Rob Potts, Gold Commander for Operation Logan, said: “The thoughts of all involved in this operation remain with these men’s loved ones in Vietnam. Though we have been liaising with them for several months, this development will understandably be upsetting.

“Since the first discovery at the end of July, GMP and partner agencies have completed a huge amount of work, both at the site and behind the scenes, to enable the completion of essential oversees enquiries. The deployment to Vietnam enabled us to obtain essential statements and DNA samples but also to meet the families face-to-face, to ensure the service they receive is not compromised by the distance between Greater Manchester and Vietnam. 

“Though the identification is an important milestone for the operation, our work is far from over. At the site, work will continue until the search is complete. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the criminal investigation team will exhaust all lines of enquiry to ensure any criminal offences are identified and those responsible face justice.

“I would like to use this opportunity to publicly thank the local community and our partner agencies for supporting this operation. Not forgetting our officers and staff, who are leaving no stone unturned in investigating the circumstances surrounding these deaths and finding answers for the families.”

Anyone with information should contact Greater Manchester Police via 101. In an emergency, always dial 999. International callers can contact GMP via +441618725050. Information can also be submitted in English or Vietnamese via the Major Incident Public Portal: Public Portal (mipp.police.uk)

Anyone who would like to remain anonymous can share information via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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