South Korea nursing home fire kills 21, patient detained
South Korea nursing home fire kills 21, patient detained

South Korea nursing home fire kills 21, patient detained

At least 21 people died in a fire at Hyosarang Hospital, in South Korea’s Janseong county. Six others were seriously injured but the death toll could rise.

Police said they suspect an elderly patient suffering from dementia started the fire. The 81-year-old patient, whom video footage showed entering the area where the blaze started, has been detained.

Most of the patients were in their 70s and 80s, and suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, a stroke or other chronic diseases, the officials said.

The fire and hospital officials denied earlier media reports that the hands of some of the patients were tied to bed posts when the fire broke out.

The victims are presumed to have died from asphyxiation after toxic fumes filled the building, the officials said, while the cause of the fire remains unknown.

One nurse was on duty at the annex at the time of the accident, Kim said, adding that she is among the dead.

About 10 patients on the first floor escaped shortly after the fire started.

But some 30 patients on the second floor were exposed to toxic fumes, according to the officials.

The three-story, 397-bed hospital opened in 2007, police said, adding that it had recently undergone safety checks.

The accident came two days after seven people were killed and 41 others were injured in a fire at a bus terminal in Goyang, just northwest of Seoul.


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