JAKARTA - Twenty people were killed on Friday in a one hour blaze in a commercial building in Indonesia's North Sumatra province, police said.
"Twenty people have been killed in a fire in a karaoke club in Medan. They were trapped inside the building," North Sumatra provincial police chief Badrodin Haiti said.
"But the death toll may go up as there is still one room we cannot enter yet. The room is still full of smoke and dark.
The fire originated from a karaoke club located on the third floor of the five-storey commercial building at 8.30pm (1330 GMT). The fire was put out an hour later, the officer said, adding that investigations were underway.
"For the time-being the evacuation has been stopped. We have checked the third floor of the building and it seems that there are no more victims."
Deadly fires are common in Southeast and East Asia due to the routine flouting or ignorance of fire and safety measures.
A blaze at a packed club in Bangkok's popular Ekkamai district broke out just after midnight on January 1, killing 64 people.
At the time police suggested it might have been caused by a pyrotechnics display on stage, but officials said they were also investigating the wiring in the club and sparklers handed out to guests.
A nightclub fire three months earlier, started by fireworks set off indoors, left 64 people wounded. An inquiry found the club had failed to take the necessary precautions against fire and had been able to continue operating by bribing officials.