One person was killed and at least 32 others were injured in a South Korea motel fire that engulfed in the early hours of Sunday. According to local media reports, the fire started at a five-storey building in South Korea's Gwangju city at around 5:30 am. The fire resulted in 33 people being taken to a hospital and out of them, one was pronounced dead upon arrival by the doctors.
The exact cause of the fire is still unknown and the authorities have launched an investigation into the matter. An arson suspect is in police custody who was reportedly living on the third floor when the fire broke out in the motel. According to local police, the 38-year-old suspect reportedly lit a pillow on fire before leaving the motel. The motive behind the act is not known but the police believe that they have the right person under their custody.
The fire department took around 30 minutes to put the blaze under control. The city where the motel is located is about 330 km south of Seoul, the capital of South Korea. The official death toll may rise further as people taken to the hospital were in critical condition as they suffered burns and smoke inhalation. Injured survivors taken to the hospital have also complained about breathing issues.
The fire is probably the worst hotel fire in South Korea after the 1971 Daeyeonggak hotel fire that killed 164 people and injured 63 others. The 22-storey luxurious hotel that was completed in 1969 burned for 10 hours and around 12 helicopters were mobilised to rescue trapped survivors. At least 38 people died after jumping from windows to escape the blaze. The authorities arrested eight people in connection with the fire that included hotel staff, fire department officials as well as two former city officials on charges of negligence.
(with inputs from agencies)