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The Financial Express

South Korea fire at public gym leaves 29 dead

Published: December 22, 2017 09:35:35 | Updated: December 22, 2017 16:55:09


An estimated 60 firefighters battled the fire Thursday and local media showed trucks and helicopters also on the scene. - AP photo An estimated 60 firefighters battled the fire Thursday and local media showed trucks and helicopters also on the scene. - AP photo

A fire at a sports centre in South Korea has killed 29 people and left many others injured.

The fire, which started in the basement of an eight-storey building, occurred in the southern city of Jecheon on Thursday, according to a BBC report.

Footage showed dark plumes of smoke as the blaze, which has now largely been extinguished, engulfed the property.

Most of the victims were trapped in a sauna on the second floor. Officials say the death toll could rise as firefighters continue their search.

"The fire produced so much toxic smoke so quickly, leaving many people unable to evacuate," a spokesman at the National Fire Agency said.

Some 20 people were rescued from the rooftop after taking refuge from the fire. Several of the survivors were taken hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, officials said.

As many as 60 firefighters attended the scene on Thursday in the city, 168km (104 miles) southeast of Seoul, they added.

Heavy smoke continues to hamper the search and rescue operation, the authorities said.

The building houses a fitness centre, restaurants, and a public sauna.

 

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