Search and rescue of South Korean fire victims continues with 38 dead

Search and rescue efforts continued on Thursday among the rubble of a warehouse that was under construction in the South Korean city of Icheon, south of Seoul, and in which at least 38 people have died and ten were injured in a fire.

The fire, apparently caused by an accidental explosion, is one of the deadliest in recent years in South Korea. It started after noon on Wednesday and was extinguished five hours later, according to details collected by the Yonhap news agency.

Firefighters moved bulldozers to the scene of the incident to search for possible victims buried in the rubble.

Search and rescue efforts continued overnight and continued Thursday morning, when firefighters and the National Forensic Service plan to open a joint investigation to determine the exact cause of the fire.

Authorities believe the fire originated on the complex's second underground floor due to an explosion from the use of urethane, a chemical fuel used for insulation.

Most of the 38 dead are construction workers, authorities reported, as they try to intensify efforts to identify the victims, since the identity of nine of them is unknown.

Among the ten wounded, eight are in serious condition and two sustain minor injuries.

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun offered condolences to the families of those affected, asked to investigate whether the work had the necessary security measures and seek solutions to prevent recurring fires of this type.

In Icheon, about 50 kilometers south of Seoul, is the headquarters of the SK Hynix firm, the world's second-largest maker of microchips, as well as a host of retail warehouses.


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