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SEJONG, June 27 (Yonhap) -- A fire broke out in an underground parking garage of an apartment building under construction in central South Korea on Tuesday, leaving at least three dead and 37 others injured, officials said.

The blaze started at 1:10 p.m. at the Treeshade apartment construction site in the central administrative city of Sejong, sending flames and black smoke rising into the sky. Construction firm officials estimated the number of workers at the site at the time at 169.

About 49 firetrucks and 200 firefighters battled the blaze.

Witnesses said the fire started in the building's underground parking garage.

"We were dispatched to the scene upon receiving a citizen's report that smoke was rising into the sky with a 'bang' sound from the construction site of the underground parking lot," a firefighter said.

Firefighters had difficulty battling the flames since there was no fire extinguishing system in the building under construction.

The fire authority said that epoxy coating and painting work was done in the underground level earlier in the day, and a lot of flammable materials were inside the building.

# South Korea # Fire