a fire that swept a building in kaohsiung city, in southern Taiwan, left 46 dead and dozens injured, the authorities reported this Thursday.
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The fire broke out early Thursday morning in the building of 13 floors and destroyed several levels before firefighters arrived to control it.
“The fire caused 41 injuries and 46 deaths,” the Kaohsiung fire department said in a statement sent to reporters.
Images released by the official news agency showed smoke billowing from the building’s windows as firefighters threw water at the flames.
The local fire department said sent more than 70 trucks to fight the fire.
At dawn the extent of the damage became apparent, with every floor of the building stained black.
Most of the deaths occurred between floors seven and eleven, for residential use, firefighters said. The first five floors are for commercial use and were unoccupied at the time of the fire.
A Kaohsiung police officer told AFP that the building is 40 years old and mainly houses people with few resources.
The authorities did not rule out an intentional fire, added the officer, identified by the surname Liu, while forensic teams arrived at the scene to investigate what happened.
Taiwan, an island frequently hit by earthquakes and typhoons, has strict building codes and has a positive safety record.
However, old buildings are a risk.
The fall of these old buildings during earthquakes Recent events have led to the highest death toll on the island.
With information from AFP