About 500 South Koreans were forced to flee their homes after a fire spread through a low-income neighbourhood in southern Seoul on Friday morning and destroyed at least 60 homes. Officials said firefighters were bringing the fire under control at Guryong village and there were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths.
Shin Yong-ho, an official at the fire department of Seoul‘s Gangnam district, said rescue workers were continuing to search areas affected by the fire but that it was believed that all residents there have safely evacuated.
More than 800 firefighters, police officers and public workers were deployed to fight the flame and handle evacuations after the fire broke out around 6:30 am. Photos from the scene showed firefighters fighting the flame under thick white smoke covering the village known for its dense rows of makeshift houses as helicopters sprayed water from above.
Shin said it was presumed that the fire began at one of the village’s homes made with plastic sheets and plywood. He said the cause of the fire was being investigated.
Kim Ah-reum, an official at the Gangnam district office, said around 500 residents have evacuated to nearby facilities including a school gym. Officials were planning to later move the residents to nearby hotels.