A fire caused as a result of suspected arson spread through an office building in Daegu city in South Korea. Police officers said the blaze killed at least seven people and injured many others. Dozens of firefighters arrived at the location and quickly put out the fire, which started in the late morning hours in a seven-story building near the district court of Daegu city.
At least seven people, including the suspected arsonist, were confirmed dead. Around 49 others sustained injuries, mostly as a result of smoke inhalation, and required medical intervention. According to the Daegu Fire Department, many survivors are being treated in the city’s hospitals.
Lack of sprinklers led to high casualties
Park Seok-jin, chief of Daegu’s Suseong district fire department, said the high number of casualties was due to the building not having any sprinklers on office floors. He didn’t specify if there were any lapses in safety standards.
Jeong Hyeon-wook, an official from Daegu Metropolitan Police, said the security camera footage indicates that the suspect left his home holding a container with both hands. Jeong said the suspect might have used this container to set the fire. At present, police are investigating the arsonist’s possible motives. A team from the National Forensic Services has also been deployed to the site.
No prosecutions likely, police say
Jeong further added that because the suspect is dead, it’s uncertain if anyone will be prosecuted over the incident unless, of course, police are able to find an accomplice.
A series of photos have been released showing people awaiting rescue personnel on crowded balconies and the rooftop as smoke continued to emerge from the building, which is located in an affluent business district in Daegu. Rescue workers, wearing oxygen masks and helmets, finally escorted people out of the building using the front door. Those who had passed away by then were carried out on stretchers.
Rescue personnel broke windows and used ladders to get to the second floor, where the fire started. Forensic investigators and police officials were seen closely examining the damaged doors and walls of the building.
Daegu is the fourth-largest city in South Korea and is home to over 2.4 million people. The city was the site of one of the worst arson attacks in the country after a man set himself on fire on a subway train. The incident, which happened in 2003, left 192 people dead.