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Four killed in South Korean shopping centre fire on Saturday

Police suspect oxygen cutting equipment used during welding work may have caused the blaze that killed four people and injured more than 40 others in a shopping centre fire.  Saturday’s fire started at a 264-square-meter indoor amusement park for kids inside Dongtan Metapolis in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province.

Metapolis is a gigantic residential and commercial complex constructed in 2010 consisting of two 66-story buildings, one 60-story tower, another with 55 stories and a commercial four-story building. A total of 1,266 households live there.

The kids’ facility, located on the third floor of the commercial building, was being renovated and was full of combustible material, fire authorities said

Fire authorities urged builders to follow safety regulations, noting that welding torches were blamed for past blazes. These include a December 2008 warehouse fire in the eastern city of Icheon that claimed eight lives and a shopping mall blaze at a bus terminal in Koyang, north of Seoul, which killed nine and injured 60.

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Asia Pacific Fire, Editor