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(3rd LD) Tower block fire sends 93 to hospital; no deaths reported

All News 16:03 October 09, 2020

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead with latest info; UPDATES 3rd para with latest info)

SEOUL/ULSAN, South Korea, Oct. 9 (Yonhap) -- Firefighters brought a fire at a high-rise apartment building in the southeastern city of Ulsan under complete control on Friday after nearly 16 hours of battling the flames, officials said.

The blaze broke out at around 11:07 p.m. Thursday at the 33-story Samhwan Art Nouveau commercial and residential building in Ulsan, and flames spread quickly by strong winds to the entire building.

Hundreds of people evacuated and a total of 93 people, including a firefighter, were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment. Three of them suffered serious injuries, but no deaths were reported, according to the Ulsan Fire Department.

Smoke billows from a 33-story apartment building in the southeastern city of Ulsan on the morning of Oct. 9, 2020, after a fire broke out there at around 11 p.m. the previous day amid strong winds. (Yonhap)

The fire is presumed to have broken out on the 12th floor of the building, which houses more than 120 households and shopping units.

An investigation is under way to find out what caused the fire, and the Ulsan Metropolitan Police Agency set up a task force involving 40 officials for a probe as well as a separate team in charge of supporting victims, according to the officials.

Witnesses said that the exterior walls of the building, possibly insulation, appear to have caused the fire to spread quickly.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun called for mobilizing all resources available to put out the fire and ensure the safety of the people, and Interior and Safety Minister Chin Young visited the scene to check responses.

A 33-story apartment building in South Korea's southern city of Ulsan is engulfed in fire on Oct. 8, 2020, in this photo provided by a witness. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)
Debris from a 33-story apartment building in Ulsan is scattered on nearby streets on Oct. 9, 2020. (Yonhap)
Smoke and flames are seen at a 33-story apartment building in South Korea's southern city of Ulsan on Oct. 9, 2020. (Yonhap)

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