SEOUL – An 81-year-old man died on Friday, raising the death toll from the fire that broke out on Jan. 26 at Sejong Hospital in the South Korean city of Miryang to 40, the worst recorded in the country in the last decade.
The 81-year-old man was pronounced dead at a medical center where he was admitted after the fire, according to local authorities.
More than one hundred people, mostly patients, who were in the hospital at the time of the accident, were transferred to nearby medical centers.
A total of 151 people were injured by the fire, three of which sustained serious injuries and are in a critical condition, according to a local authority cited by Yonhap news agency.
The authorities of Miryang, a city located 280 km southeast of Seoul, and South Gyeongsang, the province where the city is located, plan to hold a vigil in memory of the victims on Saturday.
The investigation into the accident has yet to clarify the cause of fire, which again has put the anti-fire regulations of the Asian country into question after another fire, on Dec. 21, 2017, at a gym in the central city of Jecheon, killed 29 people and injured another 36.
The fire in the hospital started in the emergency room on the first floor of the building, which completely burned out, and toxic smoke then started billowing through the rest of the hospital.
All of the fatalities were killed by smoke inhalation, marking it the deadliest fire in South Korea since 2008 when 40 workers died in a warehouse fire in the residential city of Icheon, southeast of Seoul.