[EDITORIALS]Disaster compoundedStudying the causes and the course of the Daegu subway arson, the enormous number of casualties and damage were produced by the combination of our perennial lack of respect of life and poor safety awareness. The communications between the control center and the train driver shows that the damages grew unnecessarily because of the subway authority’s poor handling of the tragedy.
Furthermore, experts have pointed out that subway cars in Korea are made of inflammable materials, while exported ones were built with fireproof materials. The Board of Audit and Inspection also pointed to the poor functioning of the Daegu subway’s ventilation system. It is no exaggeration that the disaster could have been foreseen.
We are shocked to learn that the engineer and control center personnel reacted badly. The controllers knew about the fire through closed circuit television, but allowed another train to enter the station from the opposite direction. Were they insane?
The controllers argue that they could not stop the second train in time because they were communicating with the driver of the first train that was already on fire. The driver of the second train also met with subway officials for nearly 10 hours before he was sent to the police. Are the subway workers on duty at the time of the incident trying to cover up their negligence?
And how did the subway officials broadcast loudspeaker warnings, as they say they did, even though there was an electrical blackout? It reportedly took more than 20 minutes after the fire broke out before all other trains on more distant parts of the subway line were stopped.
Did they even have a contingency plan for an emergency? When a fire breaks out, a moving train is supposed to go through a station according to safety guidelines of the subway corporation, but those guidelines were not followed.
In order to forestall similar incidents, a thorough investigation is needed, and the responsible persons should be punished.