A fire tore through an eight-story fitness and leisure facility in South Korea Thursday, leaving at least 29 dead and dozens more injured, according to authorities.
The inferno appears to have started from a vehicle in the basement parking lot of the gym, located in the Southern city of Jecheon, according to local outlets. What exactly sparked the fire however, is unclear.
A Jecheon fire department official — who wished to remain anonymous — said most of the victims were trapped in public baths on the second and third floors. He also added the death toll is likely to rise as responders continue to put out the blaze and search the rubble.
Deadly fire rips through gym and sauna in South Korea
Authorities said the heavy smoke is also impeding search and rescue efforts. People reported seeing the dark billows 100 miles away.
An estimated 60 firefighters battled the fire Thursday and local media showed trucks and helicopters also on the scene.
Authorities rescued an estimated 20 people who managed to take refuge from the fire on the building’s rooftop, BBC reported. Rescuers took a group of survivors to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, according to authorities.
Organizers for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics said the Olympic torch relay was slated to pass through Jeong on Friday, but the route has been changed in wake of the tragedy.
The public fitness center and sauna also houses several restaurants.
With With News Wire Services
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