S. Korea Hit by Deadliest Fire in More Than a Decade

At least 41 dead in hospital blaze
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2018 12:20 AM CST
Dozens Die in South Korea Hospital Fire
A firefighter inspects a burnt hospital after a fire in Miryang, South Korea, Friday, Jan. 26, 2018.   (Kim Dong-mi/Yonhap via AP)

Less than two weeks before the Winter Olympics open, South Korea has suffered its deadliest fire in more than a decade. At least 41 people were killed and scores more injured, some of them critically, in a blaze at the Sejong Hospital in the city of Miryang, about 170 miles southeast of Seoul, the BBC reports. Officials say the fire started around 7:30am Friday morning in the rear of the hospital's emergency room and was mostly extinguished a few hours later, Reuters reports. Local fire chief Choi Man-woo said around 200 people were evacuated from the hospital. He said all the victims, including some at an adjoining nursing home, are believed to have died from smoke inhalation, not burns.

Another 94 survivors were evacuated from the nursing home, Choi said. Hospital officials say the victims include many elderly people with breathing problems and people from intensive care units. The AP reports that officials say the death toll includes three members of the hospital staff: an emergency room doctor, a nurse, and a nurse assistant. The cause of the blaze is under investigation. South Korean President Moon Jae-in said he would call an emergency meeting in response to the fire. The disaster, which comes less than a month after a fire in a high-rise fitness center killed 29 people in the city of Jecheon, has raised concerns about the country's safety standards, CNN reports. (Read more South Korea stories.)

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