(ATTN: UPDATES with more info in paras 2, 6-9)
ANSAN, South Korea, March 27 (Yonhap) -- Four young Nigerian siblings were killed in a fire that engulfed a three-story residential building in Ansan, south of Seoul, on Monday.
The fire started on the building's first floor at 3:28 a.m. and was put out by firefighters about 40 minutes later, according to fire authorities in the city 30 kilometers south of Seoul.
Firefighters found the four siblings -- two girls aged 4 and 11, and two boys aged 6 and 7 -- dead inside the scorched second-floor home.
All seven family members, including the parents and a 2-year-old baby, were inside the home when the parents found the living room ablaze. They rescued the baby first but were presumed to have failed to come to the rescue of the rest, according to the authorities.
Some 37 residents of the building, mostly foreigners, also evacuated, including three other Nigerian nationals, two Uzbeks and a Russian national who sustained minor injuries.
Initial findings by police and fire authorities showed the blaze started from the living room floor, where a television and a refrigerator were plugged into a power strip.
Police suspect an electrical problem, such as an electrical short circuit, may have caused the fire.
According to fire authorities, the family suffered another fire in their previous home in Ansan in January 2021, from which two of the dead children inhaled smoke and another sustained second-degree burns.
The family was reportedly having severe economic difficulties, as the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a heavy blow to the father's business plan to collect used goods in South Korea and export them to Nigeria.