HUFFINGTON POST

North Korea's Popular Koryo Hotel Reportedly Catches Fire

Early commuters in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, are greeted by a banner from a building proclaiming "Long Live Grea
Early commuters in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, are greeted by a banner from a building proclaiming "Long Live Great Leader Kim II Sung," March 5, 1989. The twin buildings in background linked by a bridge is the 500-room Hotel Pyongyang Koryo, one of the most modern hotels in North Korean. (AP Photo/Cinty Li)

SEOUL, June 11 (Reuters) - A section of the Koryo Hotel, one of the oldest and best known hotels in Pyongyang, caught fire on Thursday, a source who witnessed the fire in the North Korean capital told Reuters.

Plumes of black smoke were visible from some of the upper floors of the 43-story hotel, said the witness, who declined to be identified.

The Koryo Hotel is a 143-meter (469-feet) twin-tower structure, a short distance from Pyongyang's bustling train station and the Taedong river which cuts through the city.

Access to the area around the hotel was restricted, the witness said, adding that a heavy downpour may have helped contain the blaze. It was not immediately clear if the hotel had been evacuated.

North Korea is one of the world's most isolated and secretive countries, and there was no mention in state media of the fire.

In May last year, North Korean state media said the government had apologized to bereaved families after an apartment building collapsed in Pyongyang, possibly killing hundreds.

Unlike the unfinished 105-story pyramid-shaped Ryugyong Hotel, the Koryo Hotel has for years been the go-to hotel for foreign tourists visiting North Korea. (Reporting by James Pearson)

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