A fire at a hospital in South Korea killed at least 37 people on Friday, and injured more than 70. Pope Francis has conveyed his sympathy and solidarity to those affected by the tragedy.
“Deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and of injuries caused by the outbreak of the fire in Sejong Hospital, Miryang, His Holiness Pope Francis expresses heartfelt solidarity with all those affected by this tragedy,” read a Jan. 26 message from Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State.
“He prays especially for the repose of the deceased and for the healing of those injured. The Holy Father offers encouragement to the civil authorities and emergency personnel as they assist the victims of this disaster, and upon all he willingly invokes the divine blessings of strength and consolation.”
The fire began around 7:30 am at Sejong Hospital in Miryang, in South Gyeongsang Province. The BBC reports that the fire is South Korea's deadliest in nearly 10 years. Sejong Hospital specializes in attending to the elderly, and it has an adjacent nursing home.
The hospital, which was opened in 2008, does not have fire sprinklers, which are not required under South Korean law. A new law requires nursing homes to have fire sprinklers beginning June 30, and fire sprinklers were being installed in the nursing home associated with the hospital.