Four construction workers missing, 32 injured in South Korea fire

Smoke engulfing an apartment building construction site after a fire broke out in the administrative town of Sejong, South Korea, on June 26, 2018.
Smoke engulfing an apartment building construction site after a fire broke out in the administrative town of Sejong, South Korea, on June 26, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SEJONG (THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Four construction workers are missing after a fire broke out at a high-rise multiplex apartment construction site in Saerom-dong, Sejong City, on Tuesday (June 26).

At least 32 were injured and transported to a hospital.

Buwon Construction, who is behind the building of the complex, initially said that it had employed 169 workers for the day, but the number has since changed, as subcontractors of Buwon are testifying differently.

Fire authorities are having difficulty identifying the exact number of people in need of help.

As the building is still under construction, there are no proper firefighting devices installed within its walls. A fire department personnel told the media that the building is filled with intense heat.

The authorities have gained information that the sound of an explosion was heard at an underground parking lot and there were subsequent sightings of smoke rising. Further investigation is needed to reveal what triggered the fire.

A person who witnessed the start of the fire said that there had been "an ear-splitting explosion followed by pillars of red flames like that of the Hawaii volcano eruption."

Despite the heavy rain that pummelled down nationwide, huge plumes of smoke engulfed the site around 1.15pm.

Neighbouring city Daejeon's fire rescue authorities dispatched an aerial firefighting force to the scene. As of 2.30pm, most of the major flames had been put out, but the spread has continued, as of 3.40pm.

Fire departments from the adjacent cities Daejeon, Gongju, Cheongju and elsewhere joined forces to tackle the fire, with 40 firetrucks and 115 firefighters involved in the rescue work.

Firefighters are reportedly entering every floor and room to find people who are trapped.

The multiplex apartment was anticipating residents by December.