SEOUL, South Korea – A fire tore though an indoor shooting range in southern South Korea on Saturday, killing 10 people, including at least two Japanese tourists, and injuring six, police said.
Some people were on fire as they ran out of the building, Yonhap news agency quoted a witness as saying.
An official at the National Emergency Management Agency said authorities were struggling to identify the dead due to their burns, but a police official said at least two Japanese were confirmed killed and three other Japanese were presumed to have perished.
Nine Japanese tourists and their South Korean guide were inside the facility in the southeastern port city of Busan when the fire broke out on the second floor of a five-story building, police official Han Jong-seok said. He said it was not known how many other people were in the building at the time.
Yoo Seung-ho, a detective handling the case, said four other Japanese were being treated in hospitals.
He said police plan to conduct DNA analysis in coming days to identify the bodies that were burned beyond recognition.
A Japanese man was in life-threatening condition with severe burns at Dong-a University Medical Center in Busan, said Kim Won-ha, an emergency room nurse.
Five people — two Japanese, two South Koreans and one person of unidentified nationality — were being treated for burns over 50 percent to 90 percent of their bodies at Hana hospital in Busan, which specializes in burn treatment, the hospital said.
"They are in a life-threatening condition as they inhaled a lot of toxic gas," said Kim Se-yeon, a doctor at Hana hospital's intensive care unit, adding four of them were placed on respirators and the fifth also might have to go on life support.
The emergency official, who spoke on condition of anonymity citing policy, said the fire raged for about 40 minutes before being put out. Police and fire officials were trying to determine its cause.
Prime Minister Chung Un-chan instructed South Korea's minister for public administration and security to visit the site and take steps to provide support to the families of the dead, Yonhap said.
Repeated calls to Chung's office went unanswered Saturday night.
Yonhap said the four indoor shooting ranges in Busan, about 200 miles southeast of Seoul, are popular with Japanese visitors to the city.
Last year, a fire and accompanying explosions ripped through a cold storage warehouse in a city south of Seoul, killing 40 people.