중앙데일리

Police: Fire might have been a planned escape

Feb 14,2007
YEOSU, South Jeolla ― Police are investigating whether detainees at the Immigration Office set a fatal fire on Sunday in an effort to escape the detention facility.
A police officer who was on duty in the building at the time of the fire that killed nine foreign detainees said the detainees did not “actively try to put out the fire,” suggesting they were aiding suspected arsonist Jin Guangxi, who was killed in fire, Yeosu police said.
The National Institute of Scientific Investigation said yesterday it found two lighters in Room 304 of the detention facility, where the fire began.
A police officer, whom police identified only as Mr. Jo, said “the fire started under a TV set, and I saw a person do nothing to put it out ... The person appeared to be on guard.”
Another police officer, only identified as Mr. Park, tried to put out the fire with an extinguisher. “It was strange that none of the detainees tried to extinguish the fire,” he told Yeosu police. “They just stood up in the corner of the room. If somebody tried to put the fire out by using a blanket nearby, the tragedy would not have happened.”
A Chinese detainee who survived the fire told the police yesterday that he saw the arson suspect start the fire and then spread it using laminated paper from the flooring.
The police also said two staff members who were on duty did not answer emergency calls from the police officers who discovered the fire. Because of that, the police are checking whether the staff members neglected their duty.
A police official who declined to be named said, “We are making a thorough investigation by using the surveillance camera tapes, interviews with related figures and confrontations with them.”


By Chun Chang-hwan(JoongAng Ilbo)/ Chun Su-jin(Staff Writer)[sujiney@joongang.co.kr]



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