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Downtown Market Area Gutted By Gas Explosion

March 23, 1985

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ A fire caused by a gas explosion gutted more than 420 garment shops and other businesses in the crowded downtown Southgate market today, police said. Two people were reported injured.

Police said 95 fire engines and 600 police and firefighters were at the scene for three hours before bringing the blaze under control.Officials estimated damage at $1.2 million.

Police quoted witnesses as saying the fire started when a truck, unloading canned butane gas in front of one of the shops, inadvertently bumped into other cans of gas on the ground.

The witnesses said the initial blast caused a chain explosion, sending flaming cans of gas flying into other shops.

Southgate, located in central Seoul, is one of the city’s best-known shopping areas.

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