UPDATE : 2018.4.19 THU 13:57
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Police raid homes of owner, manager of fire-ravaged building in Jecheon

Police on Monday raided the homes of an owner and a manager of a fire-ravaged fitness center in the central city of Jecheon to investigate if they were negligent in preventing last week's disaster that left 29 people dead and dozens injured.

The investigators searched their houses and cars and confiscated materials that would help verify what they did when the fire engulfed the eight-story commercial building on Thursday in the city, some 170 kilometers south of Seoul.

They plan to seek arrest warrants for both on Tuesday.

"We raided the houses to collect evidence that would help substantiate charges levelled against them," a police official said, declining to be named.

The police appeared set to press charges of manslaughter caused by professional negligence and violation of the fire law against the 53-year-old owner, while they will push for charges of manslaughter against the 50-year-old manager. Their full names were withheld.

Meanwhile, the fire service authorities, who have been under flak for their allegedly inept initial response to the disaster, decided to form a joint investigation team of internal and external experts to verify if they made any mistakes in the process of extinguishing the fire.

The investigation results will be announced in mid-January, officials said. (Yonhap)

Police raid the homes of an owner and a manager of a fire-ravaged fitness center in the central city of Jecheon on Dec. 25, 2017, in this photo provided by a reader. (Yonhap)

Shin Eugenia  edt@koeapost.com

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