The blaze was extinguished around 11:50 a.m. local time (GMT 0250) and damaged an area of 2,700 square meters.
No deaths or injuries were reported, Shin said, but around 60 homes are believed to have burned down in the fire.
The main fire was extinguished after emergency services deployed 53 fire engines and 10 helicopters, Shin said. People who had lost their homes would be accommodated temporarily in nearby hotels, according to the official.
"I saw a flash from the kitchen and opened the door, and flames were shooting from the houses next door," Shin, a 72-year-old woman whose home was completely burned in the inferno, was quoted as saying by Reuters. "So I knocked on every door nearby and shouted 'fire!' and then called 119."
Kim Doo-Chun, 60, said the village was constantly at risk of disaster due partly to its cardboard homes and narrow alleys.
"If a fire breaks out in this neighborhood, the entire village could be in danger if we don't respond quickly. So we've been responding together for decades," said Kim, who has lived in the area for 30 years.
President Yoon Suk-yeol, who is in Switzerland at the World Economic Forum, called for all-out efforts to minimize the damage and mobilize all available firefighters and equipment, his spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye said.
Dating back to the 1980s, most houses in the village were constructed from cardboard and wood, which makes them even more prone to fires.
Authorities have long warned of the risk of disasters, with the local government saying on its website that the slum was “vulnerable to fires” in 2019.
The slum was last August hit by floods when rainfall killed at least 13 people in Seoul.
Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon visited the still-smoldering village and asked officials to prepare to relocate affected families, reports said.
Source: Press TV
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