South Korea hospital fire kills 21, 71-yr-old arson suspect detained

An octogenarian patient suspected of arson in the deadly hospital fire in South Korea`s Jangseong town that killed 21, was detained by police on Wednesday, said reports.

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: May 28, 2014, 16:26 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Seoul: An octogenarian patient suspected of arson in the deadly hospital fire in South Korea`s Jangseong town that killed 21, was detained by police on Wednesday, said reports.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, after going through the CCTV footage, police detained an 81-year-man identified as Kim for questioning.

The man suspected of setting the fire is himself a patient in the same hospital and is said to be suffering from dementia.

The fire was sparked at the second floor of the two-story hospice annex building of Hyosarang Hospital and it took 30 minutes to douse the blaze, the Yonhap news agency quoted Kim Kyong-man, a fire official.

The fatalities were caused by asphyxiation due to toxic fumes inhaled by the victims, the report added.

Most of the patients, who were killed in fire, were in 70-80 age group and suffered senile ailments like Alzheimer’s, etc and hence had difficulty in moving.

Those killed include 20 patients and a nurse.

The death toll may rise as six out of the eight injured are said to be in critical condition.

In another arson attack today, a 71-year-old man on Wednesday set fire on a subway train in Seoul on Wednesday, but no casualties were reported.

The deadly blaze today comes just few days after a man had earlier this week ignited fire at a bus terminal near Seoul killing eight people and injuring 57.
South Korea has recently witnessed a spate of public safety hazards, the deadliest of them being the ferry sinking accident which left more than 300 missing or dead.

President Park Geun-Huye had offered a tearful apology for the ferry disaster and vowed to overhaul the public safety system in the country.