Daeyeonggak Hotel fire
|Time||9:50 am, 1971-12-25|
|Location||Chungmuro, Jung District, Seoul, South Korea|
Fire and aftermath
The fire burned for ten hours. Many were unable to find the exit in the darkness. The fire department's ladders only reached the eighth floor, trapping those from the ninth to the 22nd storeys. At least 38 people died leaping from windows to escape the inferno, some clinging to mattresses in an attempt to survive the fall. 12 helicopters were mobilised to try to rescue guests from the roof using aerial slings. One man fell to his death from a helicopter.
The authorities arrested eight people in connection with the disaster. These included Kim Yong-san and four other hotel officials, who were charged with carelessness and improper construction, as well as two former city officials and a fire officer on charges of negligence.
The 162nd death was that of Yu Sien-yung, the minister of the Taiwanese embassy in Seoul, who lived alone in the hotel. He was trapped in the burning building for more than 10 hours and died in hospital, aged 64, on 4 January 1972.
The design of the building was said to have played a part in the high death toll. The two internal staircases were designed for use in case of lift failures and not as fire exits, and filled with smoke during the fire, acting as chimneys. The building had no external emergency staircase. The walls between the hotel rooms were not sufficiently fire resistant, hastening the spread of the blaze. The tower lacked many other safety features, including battery-operated exit lights.
The building was remodeled after the fire. There was another fire there on 27 February 2010.
- 陈军 (1998). 《人民警察素貭敎育全书》. 中国检察出版社. p. 337.
- 章孝思 (Feb 1985). 《高层建筑防火》. 中国建筑工业出版社. ISBN 711200750X.
- "Insufficient fire exits pushed up hotel deaths". South China Morning Post. 30 December 1971. p. 18.
- "Seoul hotel fire: 8 arrested". South China Morning Post. 29 December 1971. p. 16.
- "Fire turned hotel into death-trap chimney expert". South China Morning Post. United Press International. 28 December 1971.
- "Fire experts off to Seoul". South China Morning Post. 11 January 1972. p. 18.
- "Hotel fire toll up". South China Morning Post. 5 January 1972. p. 18.