On Thursday, 46 people were killed in an overnight fire in a building in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung. The fire is being described as the island’s deadliest in decades, injuring dozens of people. According to officials, the fire broke out in the 13-storey building on Thursday morning, before fire brigade personnel could douse the blaze, spreading to several floors.
Photos released by Taiwan’s official Central News Agency showed smoke billowing out of the building’s windows. Firefighters tried desperately to douse the flames.
Kaohsiung’s fire department said it sent more than 70 fire brigade trucks to douse the blaze, which took four hours to extinguish. With the light of day, it was also visible how fierce the fire was. Every floor of the building turned completely black and most of its windows were broken.
The fire department said 41 people were injured and 46 died in the fire. Officials said most of the deaths occurred on floors seven to 11, which had residential apartments.
The first five floors were for commercial use but were vacant. First, when the fire broke out in the lower floors, the people living there also heard many loud noises.
An unidentified person living in the building told Formosa TV: “I heard several loud bangs on the ground floor – “bang, bang, bang” – and I even came downstairs to look.” “That’s when I realized there was a fire and I immediately called the police,” he said.
Describing the condition of her floor, a woman who survived the accident said, “When I opened the door to exit, the entire hall was filled with black smoke.”
A constable from the Kaohsiung Police Department told AFP the building was 40 years old and was mostly inhabited by low-income people. According to an estimate, he told that about 100 people lived in it.
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