On December 21, 2017, a major fire occurred at a sport center called Duson Sporium in Jecheon, South Korea. It killed at least 29 people and injured another 29. At least fifteen of those killed were trapped in a sauna on the second floor of the building, which also housed a variety of other commercial establishments including a gym, a golf practice facility, and a number of restaurants.
Around 20 people were rescued from the roof. Preliminary reports indicated that victims were incapacitated by toxic smoke, which was produced so quickly that they were unable to evacuate; smoke inhalation was the cause of many injuries as well. The fire began in a vehicle which was parked on the first floor of the structure. Rescue operations were delayed due to the continued presence of toxic gas and exceptionally heavy smoke on the scene.
The President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, voiced “deep sorrow”, and the Prime Minister of South Korea, Lee Nak-yeon, vowed to expedite the dispatching of rescue services to the location. Organizers of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang announced that a scheduled visit by the Olympic torch relay to Jecheon would be cancelled, and the route revised, due to the incident.
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