UPDATE: South Korean karaoke-bar fire kills three Lankans

UPDATE: South Korean karaoke-bar fire kills three Lankans

May 6, 2012   09:11 am

SEOUL — A fierce blaze swept through a karaoke lounge in the South Korean city of Busan killing nine people, including three Sri Lankan nationals, and injuring 20, police said on Sunday.

The fire broke out on Saturday night in one of the establishment’s 28 rooms, police said, and witnesses reported hearing a loud bang before smoke quickly engulfed the bar, on the third floor of a six-storey building.

The dead included two women and three Sri Lankan workers who were holding a company party with Korean colleagues, the Yonhap news agency said.

The 20 injured were taken to hospital for treatment.

Smoke and fumes spread quickly, making it hard for people to find the exits, and most of those killed died from inhaling toxic gases, Yonhap said.

About 100 firefighters battled the blaze as dozens of people evacuated the building, it said.

It was not immediately clear what started the fire and an investigation was under way.

In January 2009, at least eight people were killed in a fire in another karaoke lounge in the major southern port city.

Investigators blamed lax fire precautions and suspected staff negligence for the blaze, which gutted the basement bar in the Yongdo district. - AFP

UPDATE: Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment said that the deceased Sri Lankan migrant workers were from Piliyandala, Mahiyangana and Matara areas and that their relatives here have been contacted and informed of the incident.

While their bodies will be repatriated following postmortem examinations, the Busan Municipal Government has provided necessary facilities for this.

Representatives from the Sri Lankan Embassy in South Korea have currently left for the location of the incident, the Foreign Employment Bureau added. (AdaDerana)

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