According to authorities, the fire began at about 7:30 a.m. at Sejong Hospital in the southern city. Eyewitnesses have since said that the fire broke out in the emergency room at about 7:30 a.m. and quickly spread to other parts of the hospital.
As of 5:00 p.m., at least 37 people had died, with several others being treated for injuries.
At the time of the fire, 100 patients were in the wards. All 94 patients of the elderly nursing home adjacent to the hospital are said to have been evacuated safely.
Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon issued an emergency order to concerned government agencies, including the Ministry of Interior and Safety and fire and police agencies to direct all possible resource to the rescue and firefighting efforts.
Minister of Interior and Safety Kim Boo-kyum flew by helicopter to Miryang at about 9 a.m. to oversee the emergency response operations.
The fire department is reported to have brought the fire under control by about 9:30 a.m.
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com)