Woman dies of injuries from fire in Uijeongbu

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Woman dies of injuries from fire in Uijeongbu

A 22-year-old single mother who was rescued with her 5-year-old son from a fire at three apartment buildings in Uijeongbu, Gyeonggi, on Jan. 10 has died after spending nearly two weeks in an intensive care unit.

According to the police and the local government, the woman, who is surnamed Na, suffered from severe burns all over her body as a result of the fire and died at a hospital in Seoul on Friday night.

Na’s son wasn’t injured badly, probably because he was protected by his mother, the local government said, and is now at a child protection facility.

The mother and son had been living in an apartment in one of the three buildings that caught on fire.

The local authority said that the child has no known relatives because his mother was an orphan, so he will stay at the facility for up to six months before being placed in a foster home or an orphanage.

The fire, which has killed five people and injured 125 others so far, started from a parked motorcycle, according to CCTV footage.

The driver, who was also hospitalized in an intensive care unit, told the police during an investigation into the blaze that he had used a cigarette lighter to remove a key that was frozen in the bike’s ignition.

The motorcycle caught on fire a minute or two after the driver left the parking lot.

Meanwhile, those who lost their homes as a result of the blaze moved to a new shelter that has been set up at a military recruitment facility on Sunday.

A total of 372 people from 289 households have lost their homes, according to the authorities.

About 100 from this group who could not find a place to stay moved to the replacement depot from Gyungeui Elementary School, where they stayed for about two weeks.

As the authorities assessed in a safety inspection that people cannot return to their apartments yet, those who lost their homes are expected to stay at the shelter for a while.

The military facility is not currently being used as it closed down on Dec. 31 after 62 years of operation.

BY KIM BONG-MOON [bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]

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