Art museum site fire in Seoul kills 4

Updated: 2012-08-13 17:29


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SEOUL - A fire that broke out at an art museum construction site in Central Seoul on Monday killed four workers and injured 19 others, local media reported.

The blaze, which started at around 11:20 am (local time) in the basement of the site for a three-storey contemporary art museum, was put out after about 80 minutes, Yonhap news agency reported.

A fire official was quoted by Yonhap as saying that the fire was suspected to have occurred when the workers were working with urethane, combustible material used for insulation work in the basement.

About 160 firefighters and 30 fire engines were dispatched to the scene to battle the blaze, which sent thick clouds of black smoke into the sky over adjacent Gyeongbok Palace, causing tourists and nearby residents to be evacuated.

In addition to the four deaths, 18 construction workers were injured mostly by smoke inhalation, while another fell from a crane as he was trying to climb down to the ground.

Police and fire authorities are investigating the exact cause of the fire and the extent of the damage.