26 September 2023
Fact checkFalse

False: This video shows fire in Daegu, not near Halloween crowd crush at Itaewon in Seoul

The fire in Daegu, a city about 240 kilometers from Seoul, broke out on the same night the widely-reported crowd surge occurred in Itaewon that killed more than 150 people.

On Oct. 30, a tweet claimed a fire broke out in Seoul, South Korea, near the disaster event during the Halloween celebration, with a video showing heavy black smoke and people filming the fire with their phones.

The video clip has more than 463,000 views and over 2,000 likes as of this writing. The user identifies himself as a journalist in India and has over 3,500 followers.

The video has also been shared by news organizations in Pakistan, Thailand, and Poland, and was included in their reports about the Itaewon crowd surge that killed at least 156 people.

Some news articles even suggested that the crowd started to panic as they tried to flee the fire.

The misleading tweet is shared by a Polish news organization

However, the claim is false.

The fire in the video broke out near Dongseong road in Daegu, roughly 240 kilometers away from Seoul.

Although this fire and the Itaewon disaster happened on the same night on Oct. 29, they are two separate incidents.

Distance between Seoul and Daegu measured by a Google Maps tool

To investigate the video clip in question, Annie Lab searched the word “​​국대닭곱새” written on one of the signboards and found four restaurants in South Korea using that name. Two are located in Daegu, and the other two are in Seoul.

The name of the restaurant seen in the video used by the misleading tweet

We then searched the words “대구” (Daegu), “서울” (Seoul) and “화재” (fire accident), which led to a YouTube video from the Maeil Shinmun, a local news outlet. It was a news report about a fire in Daegu.

This news video shows the same buildings and shops that are seen in the Twitter video, as well as the restaurant signboard we identified.

The same store sign can also be seen in the tweeted video

According to Maeil Shinmun, a fire occurred at 10:34 p.m. on Oct. 29 on the ground floor of a commercial building on Dongseong Road in Jung District.

Five people suffered from smoke inhalation, but no casualty has been reported.

A street view photo taken in September this year for Naver Map, a popular digital map service in South Korea, shows the same stores and buildings there, too.

Meanwhile, no fire was reported during the Itaewon crowd crush in Seoul, which is still under investigation, according to local media.