The Korea Herald


Relaxing ‘bulmeong’ fireplace video prompts emergency calls

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : Oct. 20, 2023 - 12:21

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Image from a Image from a "bul-meong" video on YouTube (YouTube)

A fad of watching fireplace videos to relax has sparked a fire scare in Seoul, prompting 119 emergency calls from apartment residents and evacuation just after midnight.

At around 12:03 a.m. on Thursday, Seoul Yeongdeungpo Fire Department received a call that a fire seemed to have broken out at an apartment in Dangsan-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul.

The building was evacuated, but when the 61 firefighters dispatched to the scene arrived at the supposed site of the blaze, they found a video of a campfire playing on a TV screen in a young woman's home.

The woman, whose identity was not revealed, said she was just relaxing while watching the video. "The video looked very realistic. I could understand why the report was made," one of the firemen was quoted as saying.

This recent trend in South Korea is called "bul-meong," which roughly translates to "vacantly sitting and watching a fire."

It first started with outdoor camping enthusiasts, but spread among the general public around 2016. As not many South Korean homes have fireplaces, most opt to play high-definition videos of fireplaces or campfires on TV or other big screens.

A quick search of the keyword on YouTube turns up several "bul-meong" videos -- one video that was put on a loop to repeat for eight hours has had over 8 million hits since being posted three years ago.

The fad has gotten plenty of news coverage over the past few years, but has also led to accidents.

Last year, two couples in Incheon were enjoying bul-meong with an actual fire inside an apartment when an explosion occurred, injuring two men in their 30s.