SEOUL – At least 29 people have died and 26 others have been injured after fire broke out on Thursday at an eight-storey fitness center in the South Korean city of Jecheon.
According to authorities, as cited by South Korean news agency Yonhap, the fire started from a vehicle which was in the underground parking lot of the center.
Most of the victims were trapped in a sauna on the second floor of the building, which also housed an indoor golf course, a gym and a restaurant, according to authorities.
Firefighters rescued a group of people from the roof of the building, where they had taken refuge, and many of the injured have been hospitalized for smoke inhalation, but were reportedly not in critical condition.
A team of firefighters, troops and two helicopters has been deployed to the site in order to bring the fire under control, a task made difficult due to heavy smoke and toxic gas emitted by the fire.
Images released via epa showed rescue teams working on the scene, while flames appeared to ravage the building.
According to Yonhap, Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon held an emergency meeting at the Ministry of the Interior and Safety and urged officials to spare no effort to ensure speedy rescue and firefighting operations.