South Korea hospital fire kills at least 31, injures dozens

Nichole Vega
January 28, 2018

Thirty-one people were killed and 77 injured in a blaze that engulfed a hospital in the southeastern city of Miryang early Friday, with the number of casualties likely to rise further, firefighters said.

Miryang is about 2-hundred-and-70 kilometers south-east of Seoul and the hospital has been operating since 2008.

The fire occurred around 7:30 Sejong Hospital's emergency room and quickly spread to other parts of the hospital, according to authorities.

Victims were believed to have inhaled toxic smoke during the blaze.

None had been required under fire prevention laws, he told journalists, but the hospital had been planning to install them in the coming week to comply with new regulations coming into force in June.

"My father works at Sejong Hospital's funeral hall", said a Twitter user. And in 2008 a warehouse fire outside Seoul left 40 people dead.

Officials said they were still investigating the cause, although they suspect a possible short circuit in the emergency room's heating and cooling system could have started the blaze.

President Moon Jae-in convened an emergency meeting with senior advisers and expressed regret over the blaze.

Patients were moved to nearby facilities, but dozens died after reaching other hospitals, the local fire chief said.

All of the 93 patients at a nursing home, adjoined to the hospital, evacuated safely.

In late December, 29 people died in a fire that was fueled by flammable cladding on the outside of a fitness center in Jecheon, North Chungcheong Province.

The recent spate of deadly fires in South Korea has led to questions over the government's ability to enforce sufficient safety measures. At a press briefing, the hospital's Chairman Son Kyung-Chul said sprinklers were not installed in the building due to its small size.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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