SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - A fire swept through a nursing home
during the night, killing nine elderly people, police said
Eleven nursing home patients were sleeping when the fire,
suspected to have been touched off by an electrical short circuit,
broke out at Kum-mae Welfare Center in Seocheon in central South
Korea shortly before midnight Tuesday, police said.
Two patients were rescued but nine others were burned to death
or suffocated in the one-hour fire, said Lt. Lee Heon-soo, an
official at Seocheon Police Station.
Those killed ranged in age from 61 to 93, he said. At least some
of the patients in the home suffered from Alzheimer's and other
mental disorders.
In Seoul, a fire at the Crown Hotel broke out in a third-floor
room and spread upstairs, forcing about 200 people to flee, police
At least 15 people, including six Japanese, one American and one
Indian, were injured as they tried to rush down stairs or escape
through windows, they said.
The fire was brought under control in 30 minutes, police said.
The cause was under investigation.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)