SEOUL, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- At least 16 people have been confirmed dead in a big fire accident in South Korean's southeastern city of Jecheon, according to local media.
The fire broke out in an eight-story fitness center building in Jecheon, North Chungcheong province, about 170 km southeast of capital Seoul.
The victims all stayed at a public sauna in the second floor of the building. They were found dead, with 18 others taken to a nearby hospital after inhaling smoke.
Those injured were not in a life-threatening condition.
The fire started at about 3:53 p.m. local time (0653 GMT) from a parking lot at the first floor, engulfing the entire building.
Some 50 fire engines, 60 firefighters and two choppers were sent to the scene to put out fire and rescue people.
The fire was extinguished at about 5:40 p.m. Firefighters started search operation inside the building.
More casualties could be found inside the building housing fitness center, public sauna and restaurant.