A fire caused by suspected arson spread through an office building Thursday in South Korea’s Daegu city, killing at least seven people and injuring dozens of others, local fire and police officials said.
Dozens of firefighters and vehicles were deployed and quickly put out the blaze, which began around 10:55 a.m. local time on the second floor of a seven-floor office building near the city’s district court.
Seven people were confirmed as dead, including an unidentified man who police suspect set the fire in a lawyer’s office. At least 41 people were hurt, mostly from smoke inhalation, and 26 of them were being treated at nearby hospitals, said Park Seok-jin, chief of Daegu’s Suseong district fire department.
No other people were trapped in the building, Park said.
Jeong Hyeon-wook, an official from Daegu Metropolitan Police, said security camera footage shows the suspect leaving his home holding an apparent container with both hands that may have been used to set the blaze. Jeong said all of the dead victims were found in the same room and that police were investigating possible motives.
South Korean media published photos they said were received from witnesses that show smoke emerging from the building in Beomeo-dong, an affluent business district in Daegu, which is South Korea’s fourth-largest city and home to more than 2.6 million people.
Other photos showed broken windows, which Park said were caused by rescue efforts.
Daegu was the site of one of the worst arson attacks in South Korea’s history in 2003 when 192 people died after a 56-year-old man set fire on a subway train.