The blaze broke out in one of the 28 rooms at the karaoke lounge on the third floor of a six-story building in the southeastern port city around 8:55 p.m. Saturday, causing smoke to spread quickly through the facility and customers to panic, witnesses and police said.
All of the nine fatal victims — seven men and two women — died from inhaling toxic gases, police said. The dead include three Sri Lankans who were holding a company party with three other Korean colleagues.
One of the injuries was serious, but the others were non-life threatening, police said.
Police said smoke apparently made customers unable to find exits and led to the large toll.
About 20 fire trucks and 100 firefighters battled the fire and extinguished it around 10 p.m.
Police said they are investigating what caused the fire based on witness accounts that a torrent of flames started with a bang sound. (Yonhap)