International News

More than two dozen dead in blaze at fitness center in South Korea

A fire at a fitness center in the scenic South Korean city of Jecheon has left 29 people dead and more than two dozen others injured.
The fire started at around 4:00 pm local time (0700 GMT) from a car parked on the first floor and spread across the eight-story building, an official told Reuters on Thursday.
Television footage showed the building consumed by flames with dark plumes of smoke rising from it as several people stood waiting to be rescued from an outdoor terrace.
The National Fire Agency said that most of the victims were found in the sauna section of the fitness center.
Many victims appeared to have been unaware of the fire raging outside the sauna until it became impossible to flee, the National Fire Agency spokesman said.
“The fire produced so much toxic smoke so quickly, leaving many people unable to evacuate,” he added.
The fire station said some of the deceased women and men had been identified, while the rest of the dead bodies were unrecognizable and required forensics tests and techniques for identification.
Firefighters continue to search the building and officials say the death toll may rise higher.
Jecheon is a popular tourist resort in the country. It is known for its scenic mountains and natural lakes.