Four Vietnamese nationals feared dead following a huge fire at an Oldham mill in May have been named by police.
Bismark House Mill was the scene of a ferocious blaze on May 7 in the Greater Manchester town, and human remains were discovered by demolition workers who were clearing the site.
Greater Manchester Police now believe the four Vietnamese men were in the building at the time of the inferno and they have been named as Cuong Van Chu, Uoc Van Nguyen, Duong Van Nguyen and Nam Thanh Le.
They were all reported as missing on July 21 and while specialists have confirmed the discovery of three bodies – the first of which was found on July 23 – they have not yet been formally identified.
Police suspect that the four men were trafficking victims who were being held in the mill on Bower Street – of which the blaze took firefighters four days to extinguish – but they are still keeping an open mind.
Cuong, 39, arrived in the UK in June 2019. He maintained regular contact with his wife and children, but they have not heard from him since May 7, which was the last time 31-year-old Uoc’s wife last had contact with her husband.
Duong, 29, came to the UK around 12 months ago, but he has not been in contact with his family for three months, while 21-year-old Nam arrived on these shores in January and he hasn’t been heard from since May 4, when he told family he was residing in a derelict house in ‘Dam’, believed to be Oldham.
Detective Superintendent Lewis Hughes, GMP’s Victim Identification lead, 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 UK.
“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.
“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.”
The cause of the fire has not been revealed.