July 27, 2021

A fire in a Seoul hostel leaves at least 7 dead

A fire in a Seoul hostel leaves at least 7 dead

A fire in a hostel in downtown Seoul left at least 7 dead and 11 wounded today, local authorities said, in a new tragic episode related to fire in the Asian country.

The fire was detected around 5.00 local time (20.00 GMT Thursday) in a hostel in the central district of Jongno and was extinguished about two hours later, according to the agency Yonhap citing data from the fire department of the South Korean capital.

The firefighters also said they do not rule out the possibility of increasing the number of deaths and explained that the fire originated in the third floor of the building, where the hostel is located, which also occupies the second floor of the building.

This establishment is what is known in South Korea as "goshiwon", a business that rents tiny rooms for modest prices.

Due to its nature it is an ideal medium and long term accommodation for, for example, students, workers who receive the minimum wage or day laborers in sectors such as construction.

At the time of the fire there were about 50 tenants in the "goshiwon", according to police and firemen, who have detailed in turn that the identified victims were between 40 and 60 years old.

The building, about 40 years old, did not have fire sprinklers, although it did have smoke detectors in each room, as well as exits and emergency rope ladders apparently in order.

Both the police and the firefighters have opened an investigation to determine the cause of the fire and whether the smoke detectors worked properly.

Last year, two fires in a South Korean hospital and gym left 69 dead.

In both cases, violations and negligence were detected in terms of fire protocols, which led the South Korean government to commit itself to reinforce prevention and security measures at the national level to avoid similar episodes.


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