Seven people were confirmed killed as a blaze spread through building, which is known for housing several lawyers’ offices, in a suspected arson attack in the city of Daegu, South Korea.
Another 49 people were hurt, mostly due to smoke inhalation, and 31 were being treated at local hospitals.
Accoring to Yonhap news agency, the suspected arsonist, a man in his 50s, is believed to be one of the people who perished. Police are investigating who or what could have been the target of the alleged arson.
Police spokesman Jeong Hyeon-wook said that with the suspect dead, there were unlikely to be criminal charges relating to the incident unless an accomplice was found.
Rescue workers wearing helmets and oxygen masks escorted people out of the building’s front door and used ladders and broke windows to get inside the second floor before carrying out the dead on stretchers. Police and forensic investigators were later seen examining the severely damaged and blackened walls and doors.
As the firefighters quelled the blaze, other survivors could be seen waiting on crowded rooftops for assistance in the affluent business district of Beomeo-dong.
Daegu was the site of one of the worst arson attacks ever in South Korea’s in 2003, when 192 people died after a 56-year-old man set a fire on a subway train. The attack remains the deadliest deliberate incident of violence during peacetime in the country’s history.