Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Fire kills 21 at S Korean hospital for elderly

28 May 2014, 08:19

Seoul - Twenty-one people suffocated and seven people were injured on Wednesday in a fire at a hospital in southern South Korea that specialises in patients suffering from dementia and palsy, officials said.

One patient at the Hyosarang Hospital in Jangseong County, an 81-year-old man suffering from dementia, was detained in an investigation after security video footage showed him entering an area where the blaze began, police said. Police declined to provide further details, saying the cause of the fire was still being investigated.

Jangseong Fire Department officials said 20 patients and one nurse were killed and that seven people were injured, adding that the victims suffocated. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of office rules.

Kim Jeong-bae, one of the fire-fighters who entered the building, said none of the bodies that he and his colleagues retrieved were burned and that they apparently were already dead when fire-fighters entered the hospital while it was engulfed in black smoke.

There were 34 patients and a nurse on duty on the second floor of an annex of Hyosarang Hospital when the fire broke out, officials said. More than 270 fire officers put the fire out after about six minutes, the officials said.

Officials said that 45 people, including a nurse, were on the hospital's first floor but that they all escaped.

South Korean media including Yonhap news agency earlier had reported some of the dead had their hands bound to their beds without citing any source for the information. Fire officials later on Wednesday said that report was inaccurate.

Kim, the fire officer, said all the dead bodies he saw were found on beds or on the floor but none of them had their hands bound. He said the second-floor windows are barred. Two hospital officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorised to talk to the media, also said that patients were not bound to beds.

The fire comes as South Korea debates long-ignored safety lapses and a history of corner-cutting in a country that rapidly rose from poverty and the destruction of the 1950-53 Korean War to become Asia's fourth biggest economy.

Officials are still searching for more than a dozen bodies from a ferry sinking last month that left more than 300 people dead or missing, most of them high school students. South Korea has also had two subway accidents in recent weeks. And a fire earlier this week at a bus terminal near Seoul killed eight people and injured 57.

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Leave ODM if you are unhappy, Rai...

Leave ODM if you are not happy, Raila Odinga tells Senator. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Former Assistant Minister joins J...

A former Assistant Minister has quit PNU and joined the Jubilee Party. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
DP Ruto intervenes as Kerio Valle...

DP William Ruto will visit Kerio Valley to try solve never-ending clashes between local residents. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
ODM MP chased down by angry Kibra...

Kibra MP Ken Okoth had a hard time in his constituency after angry youth pelted him with stones. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Prepare for DP Ruto fight in 2022...

An MP has warned that the Kalenjin Community will not stand back and watch as DP Ruto is duped ahead of the 2022 polls. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Be careful who you deal with, DP ...

Watch out for your political future, DP William Ruto has been warned. Read more...