'Arson suspected as SKorea blaze kills seven'
A suspected arson attack at a residential complex in South Korea left seven people dead and three seriously injured.world Updated: Jul 25, 2008 15:19 IST
A suspected arson attack at a residential complex in South Korea early on Friday left seven people dead and three seriously injured, police and firefighters said.
Firefighters called to tackle the pre-dawn blaze on the ninth floor of a 10-storey building in Yongin city, south of the capital Seoul, were unable to rescue the victims on time.
"We suspect arson," a firefighter told journalists. He said the fire had started at two different rooms almost at the same time: "Somebody might have set fire to the rooms one after the other."
Most of the victims suffered smoke inhalation in the tightly-packed maze of narrow corridors and 63 tiny rooms. One 27-year-old man died in hospital as he was being treated for burns and smoke inhalation.
"The victims were trapped in smoke in the maze-like structure," another firefighter said. "Room No. 6 and part of corridors were burnt down, but the fire did not burn most of the other rooms."
Seoul and its suburbs have many such lodgings, whose cheap rent makes them popular with students and low-income residents.
Eight people taken to hospital with minor injuries were released, police said.