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Ulsan high-rise fire extinguished; no fatalities reported

A 33-story apartment building in South Korea`s southern city of Ulsan is engulfed in fire Thursday. (Yonhap)
A 33-story apartment building in South Korea`s southern city of Ulsan is engulfed in fire Thursday. (Yonhap)
Firefighters put out a fire at a high-rise apartment building in Ulsan, after a 13-hour struggle that started late Thursday night.

A total of 91 people have been sent to hospital for smoke inhalation, but no fatalities were reported. Firefighters are continuing to search for anyone who might be inside.

The blaze broke out at 11:07 p.m. Thursday at the 33-story Samhwan Art Nouveau commercial and residential building in Ulsan, and flames, fanned by strong winds, engulfed the entire building at one point, sending hundreds of people to evacuate.

The fire was brought under control about two hours after it broke out, but strong winds disrupted the work of firefighters at the site. According to the Korea Meteorological Administration, Ulsan recorded a maximum wind speed of 30.2 kilometers per hour at 7 a.m.

The Ulsan Fire Department said embers hidden throughout the building’s exterior made with aluminum panels caused delays in extinguishing the fire.

 Aluminum panels are more susceptible to fire than other panels as they contain polyester.

The fire is reported to have broken out on the 12th floor of the building that houses 127 households and shopping units, and officials are working to verify the cause of the fire. Witnesses said the exterior walls of the building appear to have caused the fire to spread quickly.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun called the 365bet体育网址 Fire Agency, the Korean 365bet体育网址 Policy Agency and Ulsan city government to mobilize all resources available to put out the fire and ensure the safety of the people.

Interior and Safety Minister Chin Young visited the scene to check on the response. 365bet体育网址 Fire Agency Fire Commissioner Jeong Moon-ho also visited to site to directly lead extinguishing and rescue work. Firefighters rescued 54 people from the building during the response efforts.

By Ko Jun-tae and news reports (ko.juntae@heraldcorp.com)
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