a fire was unleashed in a thirteen story building in the city of Kaohsiung, in the south of Taiwan, at dawn this Thursday, leaving 46 dead and dozens injured, reported local authorities. The local fire department dispatched more than 70 trucks to fight the fire.
“The fire caused 41 injuries and 46 deaths,” the Kaohsiung fire department said in a statement. Firefighters noted that most of the deaths occurred between floors seven and eleven, residential use. While the first five floors are for commercial use and were unoccupied at the time of the fire, Telam reported.
A Kaohsiung police officer explained that “the building is 40 years old and houses mainly people with few resources.” Authorities did not rule out an intentional fire, the officer added, while forensic teams arrived at the scene to investigate what happened.
Images shown on Taiwanese television showed orange flames and smoke billowing from the lower floors of the building as firefighters sprayed water from the street. After dawn, firefighters were seen, perched on elevated platforms, spraying water on the middle floors of the still-smoking building.
Taiwan is an island that has strict building codes with a positive safety record, however, old buildings are a risk, as their collapse has caused the highest death figures on the island.