South Korea fire at public gym and sauna kills 18

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Several people had to be rescued from the rooftop, according to reports

Eighteen people have been killed and many others injured in a fire at a sports centre in South Korea.

The fire, which started in the basement of an eight-storey building, occurred in the southern city of Jecheon.

Footage showed dark plumes of smoke as the blaze, which has largely been extinguished, engulfed the property.

Most of the victims were found in a second floor sauna. Officials say the death toll could rise as firefighters continue their search for survivors.

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The fire started in the basement of the eight-storey building, officials said

Some 20 people were rescued from the rooftop after taking refuge from the fire. Several of the survivors were taken hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, officials said.

As many as 60 firefighters attended the scene on Thursday in the city, 168km (104 miles) southeast of Seoul, they added.

Heavy smoke continues to hamper the search and rescue operation, the authorities said.

The building houses a fitness centre, restaurants and a public sauna.

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