Dozens killed in fire at Miryang hospital

Hospital fire in Miryang, southeastern Korea kills 37 people and injures many more

"Because the hospital had many intensive care units and elderly patients, there were a lot of people with breathing problems", said Chun Jae-kyung, head of the public medical center in Miryang.

More than three dozen people are dead and more than 100 people are injured after a hospital fire in South Korea.

A fire that started Friday morning in a hospital emergency room in South Korea killed almost 40 people, mainly from inhaling smoke, and injured dozens more in one of the country's deadliest blazes in recent years.

There were 194 patients in the hospital when the fire first began and all 78 individuals in the seniors' ward were evacuated.

Many patients "walked through fire and smoke" to escape from Sejong Hospital as the main exit was on the first floor, which was ablaze, a city official said.

City vice mayor Lee Byung-hee said the cause of Friday's blaze was under investigation.

Pictures showed a helicopter flying above the building in Miryang, engulfed by heavy grey smoke and surrounded by multiple fire trucks.

Survivors were carried out wrapped in blankets, and firefighters picked their way through the blackened shell of the building after the blaze was extinguished.

Agency official earlier said numerous deaths were confirmed after the victims were taken to other hospitals while being put on artificial ventilators.

Hospital fire in Miryang, southeastern Korea kills 37 people and injures many more
Fire in South Korea hospital kills 37, injures over 140

At least nine people were seriously wounded in the blaze, Yonhap reported, adding that the fire was South Korea's deadliest in a decade.

'The victims came both from the hospital and the nursing home.

Fire official Choi Man-wu said in a televised briefing eight of the injured are in critical condition.

According to firefighters, the victims, including three hospital medical staff, one doctor and nursing assistant, appeared to have died from smoke inhalation.

Dr Song said the six-storey hospital did not have a sprinkler system and was not large enough to require one under the law.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in convened an emergency meeting and ordered a thorough response to the blaze.

The fire is the country's deadliest in at least a decade, according to Yonhap news agency.

The latest blaze occurred not long after a conflagration at a fitness centre in Jecheon city killed 29 people last month.

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