South Korea Hospital Blaze Kills 41 People

South Korea Hospital Blaze Kills 41 People

South Korea Hospital Blaze Kills 41 People

"Because the hospital had many intensive care units and elderly patients, there were a lot of people with breathing problems", said Chun Jae-kyung, head of the public medical center in Miryang.

More than 70 people were also injured in the second devastating blaze in just a month in one of Asia's most advanced countries and its fourth-largest economy.

A huge fire tore through a South Korean hospital on January 26, killing at least 37 people, the government said, in the country's worst blaze for a decade.

There were 194 patients in the hospital when the fire first began and all 78 individuals in the seniors' ward were evacuated. But local Miryang fire officials said they put out the blaze at 10:26 a.m., almost three hours after it started at the first-floor emergency room of the hospital.

The cause of the blaze is unknown.

Dozens of fire trucks and two helicopters were sent to the hospital as thick smoke blanketed nearby streets.

It was extinguished in three hours.

A National Fire Agency official said numerous deaths were confirmed after the victims were taken to nearby hospitals while being put on artificial ventilators. The National Fire Agency said officials were trying to identify other victims.

Fire official Choi Man-wu said in a televised briefing eight of the injured are in critical condition. Most of those who died were on the first and second floors of the hospital, Choi said. Fire officials said the hospital wasn't big enough to require them.

It is South Korea's deadliest fire in nearly a decade and the death toll is expected to rise with several of the injured in critical condition.Firefighters said the victims appeared to have died from smoke inhalation.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in called an emergency meeting with advisers and demanded an immediate probe into the cause of the blaze. The hospital has been operating since 2008. About 35 medical staff work at the hospital, according to the government official.

The fire is the country's deadliest in at least a decade, according to Yonhap news agency. Last weekend, a fire at a Seoul motel killed six people, and police arrested a man who allegedly set it ablaze in anger because he had been denied a room for being heavily drunk.

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