Kamis, 14 Oktober 2021

Southern Taiwan highrise fire leaves 46 dead and dozens hospitalised - ABC News

An "extremely fierce"  fire in a residential building in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung has killed 46 people and injured 41 others. 

The fire broke out in the 40-year-old building in Kaohsiung's Yancheng district in the early hours of the morning and was extinguished around dawn.

The Kaohsiung fire department said after completing a search of the building they were able to confirm 46 deaths.

Rescue officials began to remove rubble at the 13-story building on Thursday evening.

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.

Flames and smoke billow out of an apartment building in southern Taiwan as emergency vehicles gather on the street
Witnesses say they heard an explosion as the building went up in flames.(AP: Huang Minghsiung)

In Taiwan, official confirmation of a death is made at the hospital.

After daybreak, firefighters could be seen spraying water into the middle floors of the still smouldering building from high aerial platforms.

The mayor of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan expressed his "deepest sorrows" after the blaze.

He said the building was partly abandoned, having previously been host to restaurants, karaoke lounges and a cinema.

The cause of the fire remains unclear, but firefighters noted the flames burned most intensely in a pile of cluttered debris on the first floor. 

Eyewitnesses have told Taiwan media that they heard an explosion around 3am. 

Orange flames and smoke were seen billowing out of the lower floors of the building as firefighters worked to bring the blaze under control.

The government is investigating the cause, including whether arson was to blame.

Elderly residents in semi-abandoned building

Many of the residents of the 40-year-old building were elderly and lived alone in apartments as small as 13 square metres, local media said.

The building had 120 residential units on the upper floors, as well as a closed movie theatre, abandoned restaurants and karaoke clubs below them.

The fire appeared to have started on the ground floor, Taiwanese media said.

The United Daily News said that investigators were focusing on a first-floor tea shop whose owner reportedly fought with his girlfriend earlier on Wednesday.


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2021-10-14 08:54:09Z

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