A massive fire has broken out in one of the last remaining slums in South Korea's capital Seoul, forcing 500 people to flee their homes ahead of the Hong Kong holiday Hong Kong's stock market closes higher ahead of Lunar New Year, authorities said.
A video posted online shows flames ravaging the village of Guryong, a slum located in the shadow of the towers of the upscale Gangnam district, made famous by singer Psy's worldwide hit "
The fire, which started around 6:30 a.m. (3:30 p.m. Paris time), would have burned around sixty homes and was completely extinguished around noon, according to firefighters.
No casualties were reported and the cause of the fire is still unknown, they added.
We are planning to conduct further investigation into this case
," Choi Jae-young, an official with the Seoul Fire and Disaster HQ, told AFP.
Residents are not surprised
But residents said they weren't surprised by the fire. '
There have been a lot of safety issues in the community with regards to the fires, and it seems they were never properly addressed.
by authorities, Lee Woon-chul, 65, who has lived in the village for 30 years, told AFP.
The houses are very old and the electrical wires are dangerous and poorly managed.
Sparks inside homes are common
,” he added.
Eighth fire since 2012
Since 2012, the district has been affected by at least eight fires, including the one on Friday, the Gangnam district office in Seoul told AFP.
Guryong Village originated around 1988, when destitute nearby residents were evicted from their homes as part of the nation's efforts to develop its capital city ahead of hosting the Olympics.
There were around 550 households left last year, according to official data, many of whom are believed to be living with inadequate sanitation.
The village is worlds away from the opulent and glitzy world of Gangnam, an area renowned for its boutiques and luxury apartments.
South Korea is working to tackle social disparities and decided last year to ban the cramped basement apartments made famous by the Oscar-winning film '
', after four people drowned in their homes underground during floods.
South Korea stampede kills over 150 in Seoul during Halloween party