Fire at Indonesia karaoke club
Indonesian police and fire services were called to the blaze at the Inul Vizta karaoke club where 17 died Reuters

Seventeen people have died and 71 were injured after a fire broke out in a packed karaoke club in Indonesia. The fire is understood to have started in the early hours of the morning on the second floor of the building on Indonesia's Sulawesi island.

Hundreds of people were singing in private rooms at the Inul Vizta karaoke club in central Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi province. As the blaze took hold witnesses said they had seen patrons attempting to smash windows to escape the inferno. It is believed that fire engines did not arrive on the scene up to an hour after the first alarm was raised.

Police chief Colonel Rio Permana told reporters that employees of the club had attempted, but failed, to put out the fires with extinguishers and that it had taken the local fire brigade several hours to control the blaze. The police added that there was only one entry and exit to the building making the firefighters' job harder.

All 17 people who died were Indonesians. The majority died from smoke inhalation rather than burns. An electrical short circuit has been identified as the probable cause of the fire and an investigation by Indonesian authorities has commenced. "We are still investigating the cause of fire," Permana said.