Sunday, 20 October, 2019

33 killed, over 70 injured in South Korean hospital fire

33 killed, over 70 injured in South Korean hospital fire 33 killed, over 70 injured in South Korean hospital fire
Patty Aguilar | 27 January, 2018, 14:23

At least 177 patients were at the hospital and a nearby nursing home when the fire started.

At least seven people were critically injured.

There were 194 patients in the hospital when the fire first began and all 78 individuals in the seniors' ward were evacuated.

Hospital director Song Byeong-cheol said the hospital did not have a sprinkler system and was not large enough to require one under South Korean law.

The cause of the blaze hasn't been determined, but arson was initially ruled out. The fire, which happened at Sejong Hospital, is said to have started in the emergency room area.

All the patients had been brought out, he said, adding that evacuating 15 patients from the intensive care unit on the third floor took longer as firefighters had to wait for medical staff to supervise the process.

Sejong Hospital has a nursing hospital for the elderly and also offers regular medical services.

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An official at the National Fire Agency says the death toll is expected to rise from the fire at Sejong Hospital early Friday.

The identification of the dead was underway, he said.

In late December, 29 people were killed in a building fire in central Seoul, which was the country's deadliest blaze over the past decade before the hospital fire.

Pope Francis is sending his condolences to the victims of the South Korean hospital fire and is encouraging emergency personnel as they try to help survivors. The hospital fire causes scores of casualties and injuries, according to a fire agency official.

Regarding cost increases for building owners in this process, President Moon said the government will have an opportunity to draft support measures such as tax breaks. Miryang fire officials put out the blaze at 10:26 a.m., almost three hours after it started and preventing it from reaching the upper floors.

President Moon Jae-in has called an emergency meeting to discuss ways to deal with the fire. It was South Korea's worst fire since 2008, when a warehouse fire in Icheon left 40 people dead.

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