More than 30 people are dead after a horrific fire ripped through a hospital in Miryang, a city located in South Korea’s Gyeongsangnam-do Province. An additional 70-plus people were injured, with the blaze breaking out at around 7:30 a.m., local time.
According to ABC News Australia, authorities believe that the death toll will continue to rise as the day goes on. The fire is said to have started in an emergency room located on the first floor of the facility, with the good news being that despite how quickly it spread and the lives lost as a result, the blaze was reportedly almost fully extinguished “after a few hours.” This statement was given by Choi Man-woo, Miryang city’s fire chief.
The tragedy, reveals The Guardian, is one of the worst to have occurred in South Korea in quite some time. Social media footage, which began being posted the moment news of the fire first broke, shows just how terrified patients inside the Miryang facility were and how desperately they tried to remove themselves from harm’s way. They were forced to not only crawl out of windows, but one video even showed an individual “hanging on to a rope dangling from a helicopter.” Emergency responders were said to have gone out of their way to save all the patients they could, risking their own lives in order to bring those in danger to safety.
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Between eight and 13 out of the 70 who made it out of the fire alive but injured are said to be in critical condition. None of those who lost their lives during the Miryang blaze were said to have succumbed from burn complications. Almost 200 people in total were said to have been inside the medical facility when the blaze broke out, with a nursing home being adjacent to the building. Some of the deceased did not make the trip from the burning hospital to one in which their injuries could be tended to, as their health had simply deteriorated much too far for their lives to be saved, admits Choi Man-woo. As for the exact cause of the fire, officials are still keeping this information under wraps as investigations continue.