Four men left in grave of debris for months after inferno ripped through mill

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Four Vietnamese nationals were left in a "grave of debris" for months after a fire ripped through a mill believed to have been abandoned.

The four men were all reported missing to Greater Manchester Police (GMP) on July 21, which is also investigating to see if they were all illegally trafficked to the UK.

Specialist officers began searching Bismark House Mill in Oldham, Greater Manchester, after human remains were found by demolition workers last month, following a blaze on May 7.

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A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police named the four people, believed to have been in the mill at the time of the fire, as Cuong Van Chu, Uoc Van Nguyen, Duong Van Nguyen and Nam Thanh Le.

Police suspect the building was used to keep human trafficking victims.

In Oldham specialist officers declared a major incident and began the search of the fire remains after the first set of remains were discovered by demolition workers two weeks ago.

It took four days for firefighters to put out the blaze on Bower Street, a built-up area with many commercial units.

However, they believed at the time that no one was inside the building.

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Specialists confirmed the recovery of remains of three victims, though they have not yet been formally identified.

Cuong Van Chu, 39, is said to have maintained regular contact with his wife and children but they have not heard from him since May 7.

The wife of Uoc Van Nguyen, 31, has also not heard from her husband since May 7.

Duong Van Nguyen, 29, last contacted his family approximately three months ago.

Nam Thanh Le, 21, last contacted his family on May 4 and told them that he was residing in "a derelict house" in "Dam", believed to be Oldham, while looking for work.

Detective Superintendent Lewis Hughes, GMP's Victim Identification lead, said: "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."

Detective Superintendent Hughes also appealed for information about the fire and activities at the mill beforehand.

The possibility that the remains of three people found were victims of human trafficking is among the lines of inquiry being considered by police, MailOnline understands.

Another line of inquiry is whether the fire developed in an illegal cannabis factory which may have been underneath a legitimate tile warehouse, it was previouslyreported.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service Leon Parkes said firefighters followed correct procedures when a decision was made not to enter the mill, due to concerns about the fire and the building's structural stability.

But he said there would be a review of the incident and how it was managed.

The incident was also referred to GMP's Professional Standards Branch for review.

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