A massive fire broke out at a high-rise apartment in Ulsan, South Korea, on Friday. Hundreds of people have been evacuated from the site and 88 people have been hospitalized for various injuries including smoke inhalation. So far no casualties have been reported.

The fire is said to have started at the 12th floor in the 33-story Samhwan Art Nouveau commercial and residential building. The building has 136 apartments and the area serves as residential accommodation. Along with residents of the building, people residing in the nearby buildings also have been evacuated.

Ulsan fire
Massive fore broke out a residential building in Ulsan, South Korea. YouTube screengrab

Strong Winds Pose Challenge to Firefighters

Firefighters have not been able to douse the fires completely due to strong wind. News reports also claimed that the fire spread quickly as there were strong winds. The reason for the fire is not known yet. But the incident is being linked to lax safety standards that have worried South Korea for decades.

According to Yonhap news agency, the exterior walls of the building contained insulation that burns quickly. But the exact reason for the flames has not been ascertained yet. As soon as the fire broke out at least 50 residents ran to the rooftop. They were later evacuated by the firefighters.

The video of the incident also shows debris from the building falling on the road. As the fire has not been completely controlled yet, firefighters are trying hard to confirm that there are no residents trapped inside the building.

Ulsan is the eighth-largest city in South Korea and has 1.1 million people residing there. It is mainly known as the residential area and has massive numbers of high-rise buildings. A lack of safety measures in the buildings have been a problem in the country for over a decade. Even President Moon Jae In has been criticized for not improving the safety standards in buildings that have led to similar incidents costing many lives.

In April 2020, a fire broke out at a warehouse in Incheon, southeast of Seoul. At least 38 people died in the incident. The fire that broke in a nursing Miryang in Gyeongsangnam-do Province in 2018 had killed at least 37 people.