25 dead and dozens injured after fire engulfs Taiwan ‘ghost building’ overnight

25 dead and dozens injured after fire engulfs Taiwan ‘ghost building’ overnight

At least 25 people have died and 55 have been taken to hospital after a 13-story building caught fire in the early hours of the morning in Taiwan. The blaze was described as “extremely fierce,” while the source remains unknown.

The mixed-use building, seemingly primarily residential, caught fire on Thursday morning, around 3am local time (7:00 GMT), in the city of Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, according to fire department officials. Some 75 vehicles and 159 firefighters were dispatched to take on the blaze. The fire was extinguished around 7:17am, but the building’s lower levels have been completely blackened. Firefighters continued their search and rescue efforts throughout the afternoon.  

消防隊表示,該棟建築物多個樓層嚴重焚毀,建築物本身老舊外還堆放了許多雜物,造成救災困難,現場有近百戶位在大樓當中。

目前警消正在釐清詳細起火原因,附近民眾認為可能是瓦斯爆炸或電線走火。

自由時報、聯合報、中央社、中國時報

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— 雨可韓韓??Yucohanhan (@Yucohanhan_VRC) October 13, 2021

The head of the fire department told journalists that at least 11 people found by the emergency services were taken straight to the morgue. A further 55 were taken to the hospital, including 14 people who showed no signs of life; in Taiwan official confirmation of passing must be made at a hospital.  

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A statement from the fire department described the blaze as “extremely fierce,” and noted that many floors of the 13-story block had been completely destroyed. The source of the fire remains unknown although eyewitnesses told local media that they heard an explosion at around 3am. 

Taiwanese media described the block as a “ghost building” and said it was in a state of deterioration; it is around 40 years old. The block’s two underground floors were not in use, while floors one through to five were abandoned. Taiwan News says approximately 120 households were residing on the seventh through 11th floors.

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