South Korean hospital fire kills 41, injures dozens

Friday, 26 January 2018

At least 41 people have been killed and dozens injured in a fire at a hospital in Miryang, South Korea, the Yonhap news agency reported Friday.

The fire is thought to have started in the emergency room at Sejong Hospital, which specialises in cardiology,

Around 200 patients were inside the building and adjoining nursing home at the time - many were safely evacuated.

It is South Korea's deadliest fire in almost a decade and the toll is expected to rise.

Firefighters told the Yonhap news agency that the victims appeared to have died from smoke inhalation.

Several of the injured people were reported to be in a critical condition.

Fire chief Choi Man-woo told reporters the cause of the fire was not yet known.

Choi said the fire started around 07:30 local time (22:30 GMT on Thursday).

According to the Yonhap news agency, 93 patients from the nursing home were safely evacuated.

Pictures from the scene showed the building engulfed by heavy grey smoke as well as patients being rescued.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in arranged an emergency meeting to discuss ways of dealing with the fire, said spokesman Cheong Wa Dae.

Miryang is about 270km (168 miles) south-east of the capital, Seoul.

The hospital has been operating since 2008. The nursing home and hospital between them have about 200 beds.

About 35 medical staff work at the hospital, according to South Gyeongsang Province officials.

The fire comes just a month after 29 people in the South Korean city of Jecheon were killed in a blaze at a public gym.