Firefighters extinguished the blaze at the sanatorium's annex building in Jangseong, South Korea's South Jeolla province in about 30 minutes, officials said, but the building was still filled with heavy smoke that might have caused asphyxial or poisoning death of the patients, a news agency quoted a media outlet as saying in a report.

The nursing home had around 30-40 patients plus employees. About 10 patients on the first floor managed to escape soon after the fire started, but some 30 patients on the second floor failed to do so.

It was reported that most of the patients were in their 70s and 80s lying in bed, having little or less mobility.

As six wounded are in critical condition, the death toll may rise, the police said.

The cause of the fire, which broke out at midnight, still remains unknown.

The accident comes a day after seven people were killed and 41 others injured in a fire at a bus terminal in the country's Goyang city.

(Agencies)

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