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Police: Explosion Caused Busan Shooting Range Fire

Posted November. 19, 2009 09:30,   


The indoor shooting range fire that erupted in Busan Saturday was caused by an explosion near a shooting stand, Busan police said yesterday.

Police had initially thought that the blaze began from a sofa near an entrance.

Chief investigator Kim Yeong-shik said, “An explosion caused one of the two entrance gates to bend outward and an inside doorknob to melt while the outside doorknob remained intact.”

The announcement is in line with what a Japanese tourist who survived the fire told police. The tourist said he heard an explosion coming from a shooting stand.

The owner of the range, however, said, “No inflammable substance was located near the shooting stand,” adding, “Unlike other heavily damaged objects, the shooting stand was left undamaged and bodies were found not near the stand but outside the gate.”

Police are also reviewing surveillance camera footage to see if leftover gunpowder accumulated the impact spot caused the fire.

The owner said about 1,000 bullets were shot for a week before the fire.

An explosives expert said, however, “Leftover gunpowder cannot cause an explosion unless all of the gunpowder inside the 1,000 bullets was taken out.”

The Japanese tourist also told police, “Two employees at the shooting range cleaned up the shooting stand after shooting.”

Police are examining materials collected both at the scene and from an autopsy on the dead victims to identify inflammable materials that caused the fire. The possibility of a short circuit as the cause is also being explored.

Police and prosecutors said, “Arson is unlikely given that the fire broke out after Japanese tourists left the shooting stand. No lighter was also found.”

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