GOHEUNG -- Two were killed and 28 others injured, eight among them in serious condition, in a hospital fire in the country's southwestern region, officials said Friday.
The fire broke out at a hospital in Goheung, 473 kilometers south of Seoul, at 3:34 a.m. It was extinguished at 6:01 a.m.
The two dead were found on the stairs between the second and the third floors and seem to have inhaled smoke in the course of escape, fire officials said.
All the injured were being treated at nearby hospitals for smoke inhalation. Some of the critically injured were to be sent to a hospital in the nearby city of Gwangju, they added.
A witness said the fire broke out in a space on the first floor between the internal medicine and orthopedics departments.
Ma Jae-yhun, chief of South Jeolla Province fire service, said the fire seems to have been caused by an electrical problem.
While flames were not seen from outside the building, the smoke that quickly filled the building is presumed to have worsened the casualties.
At the time of the fire, a total of 86 people, including 69 of the registered patients and seven nurses, were inside the hospital.
Twenty of them escaped from the building through the first-floor door on their own but the rest had to escape to the fifth floor and the rooftop and were later rescued by firefighters, according to fire authorities.
The hospital where the fire occurred is a 7-story building with the capacity to accommodate some 100 patients. (Yonhap)