BLAZE. This photo of a fire on an expressway in Gwacheon on Dec. 29, 2022, is provided by a news reader. At least five people died while 37 others were hurt in the incident. (Yonhap)

GWACHEON, South Korea – At least five people were killed and 37 others injured when a fire broke out at a noise-barrier tunnel in Gwacheon, south of Seoul Thursday.

Fire authorities said the blaze started after a bus and a truck collided at 1:49 p.m. inside the noise tunnel in Gwacheon along the Second Gyeongin Expressway that connects the western port city of Incheon to Seongnam City.

The fire quickly spread to the tunnel causing massive clouds of flames and smoke, authorities added.

Rescuers found five people dead inside vehicles, including those involved in the collision. Thirty-seven others sustained injuries, three of them are in serious condition.

President Yoon Suk Yeol instructed the government to thoroughly search the site of the incident to ensure there are no additional casualties and to provide full medical assistance to those who were rescued, deputy presidential spokesperson Lee Jae-myoung said.

Yoon also called for a thorough analysis of the cause of the damage, measures to prevent a recurrence of similar accidents and an immediate inspection of noise tunnels and similar facilities, Lee said.

A total of 94 fire trucks, 219 fire personnel and helicopters were sent to the scene. The fire was completely put out at 4:12 p.m. (Yonhap)