UPDATE : 2018.3.22 THU 15:17
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Faulty wiring in hospital ceiling may be cause of Miryang blaze: police

Faulty wiring in the ceiling could be the cause of fire that killed more than 30 people and injured over a hundred in a hospital in the southeastern city of Miryang, police said Saturday.

A blaze gutted the emergency room of Sejong Hospital in the city, some 380 kilometers away from Seoul, early Friday, killing 38 people and injuring more than 140, in one of the deadliest fires in a decade. The death toll stood at 37 until another fatality was confirmed late Saturday.

An official from the National Forensic Service speaks during a press briefing in regard to the hospital fire in Miryang, on Jan. 27, 2018. (Yonhap)

Police and the state forensic institute conducted a preliminary on-site examination earlier on Saturday to determine the exact cause of the accident. Initial findings stated that most of the victims died from inhaling toxic fumes.

An official from the National Forensic Service said they found some possible defective points from the wiring in the ceiling, such as short circuits and incomplete contact of wires.

"There were no traces of burns on the floor, but clear signs of fire spreading toward the bottom from the top," he told a press briefing held later in the day. "We will collect all the wires from the ceiling and run them for detailed analysis to determine the exact cause."

The fire is believed to have started from the ceiling in the pantry room, which staff also used as a changing room, the official added.

Gyeongnam Provincial Police Agency said that part of the hospital facility was remodeled to create more room, including the pantry room which does not appear in the original building ledger.

Police said they also plan to investigate whether such remodeling was against the law and if the hospital maintained safety measures in accordance with regulations.

A memorial altar was set up for the victims in a public gymnasium in Miryang, where hundreds of citizens came to pay respects. President Moon Jae-in also visited the site earlier in the day and offered condolences to the bereaved families. (Yonhap)

Won Hwi  edt@koreapost.com

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