South Korea 6

The Daegu subway fire of February 18, 2003 killed at least 198 people and injured at least 147. An arsonist set fire to a train stopped at the Jungangno Station of the Daegu Metropolitan Subway in Daegu, South Korea. The fire then spread to a second train which had entered the station from the opposite direction. Kim Dae-han The arsonist was Kim Dae-han, a 56 year-old unemployed former taxi driver who had suffered a stroke in November 2001 that left him partly paralyzed. Kim was dissatisfied with his medical treatment and had expressed sentiments of violence and depression; he later told police he wanted to kill himself, but to do so in a crowded place rather than alone. By most accounts, on the morning of February 18, he boarded train 1079 on Line 1 in the direction of Daegok, carrying a duffel bag which contained two green milk cartons filled with a flammable liquid, possibly paint thinner or gasoline. Arson As the train left Daegu Station around 9:53 a.m., Kim began fumbling with the cartons and a cigarette lighter, alarming other passengers who tried to stop him. In the struggle, one of the cartons spilled and its liquid contents caught fire as the train pulled into Jungangno Station in downtown Daegu. Kim, his back and legs on fire, managed to escape along with many passengers on train 1079, but within two minutes the fire had spread to all six cars. The fire spread quickly in the insulation between the layers of aluminum that form the shell of the cars, the vinyl and plastic materials in seat cushions and strap handles, and heavy plastic matting on the floors, producing thick smoke as it burned. The operator of the train, Choi Jeong-hwan, failed to notify subway officials immediately of the fire.<SNIP> LINK

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