SEOUL, South Korea — A fire at a sanatorium 300 kilometers south of Seoul killed 21 elderly patients in Jangseong, South Jeolla province early Wednesday morning. Seven people were also injured in the fire.
The fire appeared to break out just after midnight in an unoccupied second floor room, though the cause of the fire has yet to be determined. According to local media reports, a single nurse was on duty when the fire broke out and also died in the blaze which was extinguished in 30 minutes.
Most of the victims at the sanatorium were in their 70s and 80s, which houses elderly patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Authorities are investigating whether patients were in restraints due to their medical conditions. Almost all of the deceased were housed on the second floor of the facility.
Six victims are in critical condition, causing fear the death toll may rise further.