By Alex Jensen
SEOUL (AA) - At least 41 people were killed in a South Korean hospital fire on Friday, with fears the death toll could rise further as at least 79 patients and staff were taken to other medical facilities.
Nine of the injured were transported in a serious condition, according to local news agency Yonhap.
The blaze started at around 7.30 a.m. (2230GMT Thursday) in the emergency room of Sejong Hospital in the southeastern city of Miryang.
It reportedly took firefighters about three hours to put out the flames, as nearly 100 patients at a nearby nursing home also had to be evacuated.
While firefighters said they believe toxic gas inhalation caused the deaths, the government will need to provide clear answers just days after vowing to improve public safety following a separate fire that claimed 29 lives in Jecheon just before Christmas.
President Moon Jae-in called an emergency meeting later in the morning to demand that all necessary measures be taken during a period when the South is already busy preparing to host its first Winter Olympics, from Feb. 9.