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Fire at S.Korea Store Kills 25

October 30, 1999

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ A fire raged through a four-story shopping center today in northwestern South Korea, killing at least 25 people, police said.

The national KBS-TV put the death toll at 40 and reported that it may rise further. At least 40 people were reported injured, some critically.

Police said the fire broke out around 7 p.m. in the port city of Inchon, 30 miles west of Seoul.

The building was packed with weekend shoppers when the fire erupted, KBS-TV said.

Fire engines rushed to the scene and extinguished the fire in 40 minutes, police said. The cause of the fire was still unknown.

TV footage showed firefighters picking through the scorched stores and restaurants.

KBS said the fire appeared to have broken out in an underground karaoke shop. The flames quickly raced upward, burning plastic furniture and carpets, filling the building with toxic smoke, it said.

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