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(LEAD) Yoon pays respects to victims of Daejeon shopping mall fire

16:50 September 27, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with Yoon's remarks in paras 5-7)

SEOUL, Sept. 27 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk-yeol on Tuesday visited a mourning altar for seven people who died in a fire at a Daejeon outlet mall earlier this week.

Yoon paid his respects at the altar set up on the site of Monday's fire at Hyundai Premium Outlet mall in the city 160 kilometers south of Seoul, according to his office.

The president happened to be in the area as he presided over a Cabinet meeting in the central city of Sejong earlier in the day.

He comforted the families of the victims and thanked firefighters for their work after being briefed by officials on the damage, his office said.

"I'm at a loss, because I don't know how to comfort you," Yoon told the families, according to deputy presidential spokesperson Lee Jae-myoung.

"I am well aware that the victims were all hardworking people. By accurately analyzing the cause of the fire, I will thoroughly handle it so that nothing like this ever happens again," he added.

After the briefing, Yoon instructed officials to conduct a scientific and accurate determination of the cause, citing possible "structural" problems in the building. He noted that an accurate analysis is a state's basic function.

An investigation is under way into the exact cause of the fire, which broke out in the basement where the victims, including cleaning and delivery staff, were working.

No customers were injured as the fire started before the mall's opening hours.

President Yoon Suk-yeol lays a flower on Sept. 27, 2022, at a joint mourning altar for the seven people who died in a fire at an outlet mall in Daejeon the previous day, in this photo provided by his office. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

hague@yna.co.kr
(END)

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