Extremely fierce fire raged out of control for hours at a building in a major city in southern Taiwan, leaving 46 people dead and at least 41 others injured, authorities said Thursday.
Flames and smoke billowed from the lower floors of the 13-story building as firefighters tried to control the blaze from the street and aerial platforms in the city of Kaohsiung.
A fire department statement described the incident, which started about 3 a.m., as “extremely fierce” pointing out that several floors had been destroyed.
The death toll rose steadily during the day when rescue workers searched the combined commercial and residential building. By late afternoon, authorities said 32 bodies had been sent to the morgue, while a further 14 people who showed no signs of life were among 55 taken to the hospital.
At least 46 people died and 41 people were injured after a major #fire broke out in a building in the city of #Kaohsiung, in southern #Taiwan, on Thursday. The blaze started in the 13-story commercial and residential building at 2:54 a.m. local time. pic.twitter.com/wowrPS9sGl
— Wᵒˡᵛᵉʳᶤᶰᵉ Uᵖᵈᵃᵗᵉˢ𖤐 (@W0lverineupdate) October 14, 2021
After daybreak, firefighters could be seen spraying water into the middle floors to put out the blaze. One woman said on Taiwanese TV that her 60-to-70 year old parents were still inside.
Officials mentioned that the building’s age and piles of debris blocking access to many areas complicated search and rescue efforts, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency.
In the same vein, the United Daily News, a major newspaper, reported that fire extinguishers had been installed last month, but only three per floor because the residents could not afford to pay more.