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Police Investigate Forty People Responsible For Warehouse Fire

Police Investigate Forty People Responsible For Warehouse Fire

Posted January. 11, 2008 07:24,   


The police started to investigate about 40 people including executives of logistics company Korea 2000 and public servants of Icheon City after the devastating warehouse fire on Monday.

The investigators plan to look into entire building process of the storage facility from purchase of land to business permission to construction to completion.

The differences in opinion on the compensation package between the bereft families and the company are causing the negotiation to proceed with difficulty.

Expansion of Investigation

Gyeonggi Provincial Police Agency has banned the Chief Executive Officer of the company, Ms. Gong (47), and four other executives from leaving Korea.

About 40 people are subjected to investigation. Among them, 10 people were subcontractors who took part in the construction and former and current civil servants of Icheon.

The investigators are looking into whether they colluded with government officials to convert the use of the property illegally in order to evade strict construction rules. The police dispatched four experts on construction and extinguishing fire.

The Joint Identification Team of the National Institute of Scientific Investigation, the Korea Gas Safety Corporation and the Korea Electrical Safety Corporation carried out a third on-the-spot inspection from 10:30 in the morning.

The team focused on mechanic room and freezing compartment, which were presumed for the first spark of fire. The result will be released late this month.

Compensation Talks

Negotiation between the bereft families and the company, which started from the midnight on Jan. 10, ended within two hours due to a wide gap in opinion on the compensation.

The logistics company Korea 2000 came up with a total of 60 million won per person including damages, special compensation, funeral expenses and communication allowances.

An official from the company said, “If the insurance premium for industrial disaster is included, the average compensation would stand from 130 to 180 million won, the amount offered by a large construction company for fatal incidents. The same amount will go to the Chinese and other foreign employees.”

The bereft families strongly complained that the company didn’t even show a slightest interest to the incident and swarmed to the Seoul office in Yeoksam-dong by bus around 11 in the morning to protest.

Lee Eul-soon (55. female), among the 16 identified bodies, was the first to be handed over to her family. Her funeral is scheduled for 8 a.m. Jan. 11. The rest of the families have decided not to have a funeral until the agreement on the compensation is reached.