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At least 18 dead, 24 injured in fire at gym building in South Korea

Society 21.12.2017 | 14:33
Photo: Yonhap
Photo: Yonhap

JECHEON, 21 December (BelTA - Yonhap) - Eighteen people died and dozens more were injured in a fire that engulfed a commercial building in the southern city of Jecheon on Thursday, firefighters said.

The fire started from a vehicle in the basement parking lot of an eight-story building in the city, 168 kilometers southeast of Seoul, according to the authorities. The building houses a fitness center, restaurants and a public sauna.

About 49 fire engines and trucks as well as 60 firefighters were sent to the scene along with two firefighter helicopters.

The fire was largely put out and firefighters have started to search the inside of the building, but unusually heavy smoke and toxic gas from the fire are delaying the rescue operation, the authorities said.

They said the death toll could possibly increase as the rescue work continues.

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