Disasters & Accidents

Dozens killed as search continues in rubble of South Korea warehouse fire

Seoul, Apr 30 (efe-epa).- Search and rescue efforts continued Thursday among the rubble of a warehouse blaze in the South Korean city of Icheon in which at least 38 people were killed and 10 injured.

The fire, apparently caused by an accidental explosion at the building under construction, is one of the deadliest in recent years in South Korea.

It started after midday on Wednesday and was extinguished about five hours later, according to the local Yonhap news agency.

Firefighters moved bulldozers to the scene of the incident to search for more possible victims buried in the rubble. It is not known how many people were working in the building at the time.

Search and rescue efforts continued overnight and into Thursday morning, as police, firefighters and the National Forensic Service planned to open a joint investigation to determine the cause of the fire.

Authorities believe it originated on the four-storey complex’s second underground level during construction work using urethane, a chemical used for insulation, and the installation of an elevator, Yonhap said.

The majority of the 38 dead are construction workers, authorities reported, as they tried to intensify the work of identifying the victims. The identities of nine of them are still unknown.

Among the 10 wounded, eight were in serious condition.

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun offered condolences to the families of those affected.

He asked for a thorough investigation into the cause of the fire and into whether the work had the necessary safety measures, and sought solutions to prevent another incident of the same kind.

Icheon, about 50 kilometers south of Seoul, is home to the headquarters of SK Hynix, the world’s second-largest maker of microchips, as well as a host of retail warehouses. EFE-EPA


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