SEOUL, Dec. 29 (Korea Bizwire) – Since the December 21 fire that engulfed a nine-story sports complex in Jecheon, the South Korean public has become anxious over visiting public baths or establishments frequented by many people.
Such concerns were evident in discussions that took place in one online community for housewives.
One commenter wrote, “The public bath that went up in flames is the one that I frequented when I was back in my hometown of Jecheon. After imagining the same thing happening to me with my child, I no longer have the desire to go to a public bath.”
Another posted, “After hearing the news of the Jecheon fire, whenever I enter a building with a lot of people, I check where the exits and fire extinguishers are. What I used to pay little attention to, I now feel very unsettled about.”
Public bath proprietors are hoping that the current mood doesn’t last too long. One such proprietor, who asked not to be named, explained that contrary to previous years, the number of customers had dwindled.
The proprietor further mentioned that there were noticeably more customers asking questions such as “where is the exit” and “does your fire extinguisher work”.
According to fire departments, phone calls complaining about public baths that are insufficiently prepared for a fire have risen.
The Jecheon fire department, for instance, received six phone calls after the Jecheon fire happened earlier in the day, reporting that the emergency exit door was blocked by piles of stuff.
Taking into consideration the fact that phone calls of this nature were virtually nonexistent before, fire departments are of the opinion that there has been a marked increase in awareness of safety standards on the part of the public.
The Jecheon fire claimed 29 lives and left 39 injured. Stories of the victims and survivors have left the public reeling from the disaster.