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Asean & Global Updates
POSTED | 16:35 PM | 25-12-2017

South Korean gyms face scrutiny

South Korean police looking into the deadly fire that killed 29 people at a fitness center in Jecheon are set to request an arrest warrant on Tuesday morning for the building’s managers, who allegedly violated fire safety rules, The Korea Herald reported on Monday (Dec 25, 2017).

Earlier on Monday, police raided the homes of the owner and the custodian of the commercial building in Jecheon, a day after they were taken into custody for questioning on suspicions that the two poorly managed the building where victims were trapped in a sauna on the second floor.

The eight-storey building housed a fitness center, restaurants and a public sauna.

Police confirmed water sprinklers inside the building did not function during the blaze, and one of the emergency exits was blocked, a violation of the fire prevention law.

The fire and its toll have been called “extremely preventable” by experts. The blaze has also raised questions in a country where safety regulations are often weakly enforced.

“After I heard about what happened in Jecheon. I decided to work out at home on my own out of fears that a similar incident could happen to me as well,” Kim Hee-jin, a 47-year-old housewife, told The Korea Herald.

Another gym-goer, Park Jae-yeong, 29, said he and other members of his health club in Seoul plan to talk to the club’s manager to ensure the building is properly managed and safety measures are functioning in time of emergency.

“It seems building owners and managers easily ignore safety protocols in a quest for profits. And I want to make sure that won’t be happening around me,” Park said.

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