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Six others are in critical condition after the fire at Hyosarang Hospital, about 300 km south of Seoul, BBC reported.
Most of those who died are thought to have been in their 70s and 80s, and confined to their beds.
Officials said most of the people who died suffocated because of toxic fumes. The fire was put out within half an hour.
The fire broke out shortly after midnight at a three-storey annex.
Agencies report that many patients on an upper floor of the building were unable to evacuate as their rooms were filled with smoke from the fire.
The nurse who died had been trying to douse the flames with a fire extinguisher, according to Agence-France Presse.
Police said the building had recently undergone safety checks, reported Yonhap news agency.