Sixteen dead in sauna blaze in S. Korea: fire service

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Seoul (AFP)

Sixteen people were killed and 22 injured in a major blaze at a building housing a sports centre and public bath in the central South Korean city of Jecheon, the fire agency said Thursday.

"All victims were found at a public sauna in the building," a spokesman for the National Fire Agency told AFP.

Television footage showed eight-storey building consumed by flames and issuing dark plumes of smoke, as several people stood waiting for help on the outdoor terrace.

The fire -- believed to have started at a parking lot on the first floor -- has been mostly put out, but the death toll may rise further as firefighters continue to search the building, the spokesman said.