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Death toll from warehouse fire reaches 22

Jan. 7, 2008, Seoul, South Korea - The death toll from a fire that tore through a South Korean warehouse Monday rose to 22, a fire official said as firefighters searched for others who remained missing.

January 7, 2008 
By By Kwang-Tae Kim The Associated Press

Kim Jung-geun, an official in Icheon, said more than 500 firefighters were trying to put out the blaze in Icheon, about 80 kilometres south of the capital.
Earlier officials had said 10 people had died and 20 more were believed trapped in the basement of the refrigeration warehouse, suggesting the toll could still rise.
“Additional bodies could be found as we continue the rescue operation,” said Jin Sung-hun, another official in Icheon.
The exact cause of the fire, which started at the warehouse in the morning, was not known, Kim said. But Jin said explosions were involved in the blaze, which had not yet been extinguished.Ha Jae-ho, a fire investigator, said on cable news channel YTN television that firefighters and rescue officials were conducting the operation cautiously as the building might collapse.
The 10 people injured in the blaze were receiving treatment in hospitals for burns and smoke inhalation, Kim said.
“We do not yet fully have the fire under control because smoke is still coming out of the basement,” he said.
The Yonhap news agency reported that the warehouse was used for refrigeration. Korea 2000, a logistics company that owns the facility, had no immediate comment.
Footage from YTN showed firefighters working to douse the blaze amid a thick cloud of smoke.
A witness, identified only by her family name Song, told YTN that there were several huge bangs as the fire broke out, shaking the building and breaking the windows of a building next door.

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