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38 workers killed in Icheon construction site fire


At least 38 people were killed in a fire that broke out at a construction site for a logistics warehouse in Gyeonggi Province, authorities said Wednesday. Ten others were injured.

The blaze was extinguished at around 6:42 p.m., about five hours after it was first reported at the site in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province, according to fire authorities. Some 78 workers were believed to be present.

As of 8:30 p.m. firefighters were still searching the building for more victims.
“There’s a possibility of more deaths as we haven’t finished searching,” a firefighter said.

Among those injured, eight are said to be in serious condition.

Gyeonggi-do Fire Services believes the fire broke out when workers were in the sub-basement installing a cargo elevator. Eighteen of the victims were found in the sub-basement, they said.

“We believe the fire was sparked by an unknown ignition source when people were in the middle of working on polyurethane foam and installing an elevator,” an official said.

The victims may have been unable to escape when the flames caused an explosion, producing heavy toxic smoke, he added.

The building has four floors above ground and two underground, and the lot measures 11,043 square meters. 

President Moon Jae-in directed related ministries to mobilize all available resources to respond to the tragedy.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun and Minister of the Interior and Safety Chin Young visited the site and were debriefed on the rescue operation and damage.

By Park Han-na (