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(LEAD) 25 workers killed in Icheon construction site fire

All News 17:39 April 29, 2020

(ATTN: REWRITES headline, lead; UPDATES with revised workforce figure, more details)

ICHEON, South Korea, April 29 (Yonhap) -- More than 20 workers were killed in a fire that broke out at a warehouse construction site in Gyeonggi Province on Wednesday, fire authorities said.

A total of 25 workers were killed by the fire started at the construction site in Icheon, 80 kilometers southeast of Seoul, around 1:32 p.m., according to firefighters. At least seven other workers were reported injured.

Icheon is home to SK hynix Inc., the world's second-largest maker of DRAM chips, as well as a large number of warehouses and storage facilities for retailers.

Officials suspect that the fire was caused by an unexpected explosion accident during construction work using urethane, a combustible chemical used for insulation work, in the underground level at the site.

"The fire seems to have spread extremely quickly, with the victims apparently having been unable to evacuate at all during the fire," firefighters said.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun ordered the interior and safety minister and heads of the National Fire Agency and the Korean National Police Agency to mobilize all available resource for the ongoing search and rescue operation.

Smoke billows from a warehouse construction site in the city of Icheon, southeast of Seoul, on April 29, 2020, where a fire broke out at around 1:32 p.m. the same day. (Yonhap)

odissy@yna.co.kr
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