South Korea fire at public gym and sauna kills 29

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Dark plumes of smoke were seen rising from the building

A fire at a sports centre in South Korea has killed 29 people and left many others injured.

The fire, which started in the basement of an eight-storey building, occurred in the southern city of Jecheon.

Footage showed dark plumes of smoke as the blaze, which has now largely been extinguished, engulfed the property.

Most of the victims were trapped in a sauna on the second floor. Officials say the death toll could rise as firefighters continue their search.

"The fire produced so much toxic smoke so quickly, leaving many people unable to evacuate," a spokesman at the National Fire Agency said.

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
The fire started in the basement of the eight-storey building, officials said

Some 20 people were rescued from the rooftop after taking refuge from the fire. Several of the survivors were taken hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, officials said.

As many as 60 firefighters attended the scene on Thursday in the city, 168km (104 miles) southeast of Seoul, they added.

Heavy smoke continues to hamper the search and rescue operation, the authorities said.

The building houses a fitness centre, restaurants and a public sauna.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Several people had to be rescued from the rooftop, according to reports