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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A fire erupted at a now-shuttered inter-Korean industrial park in North Korea on Thursday, but it wasn’t immediately clear if any South Korean property was damaged, officials said.

The fire was detected from a front-line South Korean observatory post at about 2 p.m. and appeared to have been extinguished about an hour later, Seoul’s Unification Ministry said.

The ministry, which oversees relations with rival North Korea, said it will try to confirm any damage at the complex in Kaesong city. North Korean state media didn’t immediately report the fire.

The industrial park, established in 2004 during a period of warming ties between the divided Koreas, was once viewed as a test case for reunification because it combined South Korean technology and knowhow with cheap North Korean labor. The complex’s operation was suspended in 2016 amid tensions over North Korea’s weapons program, leaving South Korean equipment and other assets abandoned there.

South Korean businesspeople who ran companies at the park have repeatedly expressed a desire to visit the complex because of concerns about the condition of machinery and manufacturing materials left there. A planned visit approved by the South Korean government in 2019 fell through after North Korea ignored the request.

In 2020, North Korea threatened to dismantle the entire factory complex, and then blew up an empty South Korean-built liaison office there.

South Korea has accused North Korea of destroying South Korean-owned facilities at another dormant jointly operated project — a resort at North Korea’s scenic Diamond Mountain where they ran tours together.

South Korean officials said they haven’t detected signs that North Korea is demolishing South Korean property at the Kaesong industrial park. South Korean media reported that authorities believe the fire at Kaesong wasn’t deliberately set.

Earlier Thursday, Kwon Young-se, who has been nominated to be unification minister under South Korea’s incoming conservative government, said the South should take a stronger stance toward North Korea over damage to South Korean property at the Kaesong park and Diamond Mountain resort.

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2 Children Rescued After Fire Breaks Out At Stamford Residence

Two small children were rescued from a Fairfield County apartment fire after the mother escaped, but the toddlers were left inside.

The blaze broke out in Stamford around 4:10 .m., Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 42 Custer St.

The fire was discovered when Stamford 911 received a call from a neighbor reporting a fire alarm going off in an adjacent apartment and they could smell smoke, said Stamford Deputy Fire Chief Eric Lorenz. 

Engine 6 from the Glenbrook Fire House was the first to arrive and reported “nothing showing” from the exterior of the building, Lorenz said.

Moments after arriving, crew members were approached by a hysterical woman who said she was the occupant of the apartment and that her children were still inside, Lorenz added.

Firefighters opened the front door to the unit and were met by heavy smoke condition from floor to ceiling and immediately entered the unit to perform a search for the missing children and to locate the fire, he said.

Lorenz said the two children, ages 2 and 3 years old, were quickly located semi-conscious lying on the floor of the second-level bedroom. 

The children were removed to the exterior where they received life-saving emergency medical care from responding firefighters and paramedics.

The small fire located on the kitchen stove top was quickly extinguished without incident. No fire, smoke, or water damage affected the adjacent living units. No firefighters were injured fighting the fire, Lorenz said.

“Tonight, the brave actions of our first arriving firefighters resulted in the successful rescue of two children," Lorenz said. "Those actions coupled with immediate life-saving resuscitative efforts by our fire and EMS personnel ended this incident with a positive outcome.” 

The Stamford Fire Marshal’s Office and the Stamford Police Department are investigating the cause of the fire.

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