46 people were killed and 41 injured in a fire in an apartment building in Kaohsiungu in southern Taiwan, Taiwanese authorities said. The fire broke out at night from Wednesday to Thursday. The services are investigating the causes of the fire, taking into account the possibility of setting fire to the building.
The fire broke out in a 13-story apartment block in the coastal Yancheng district, in the city of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan, on Thursday at around 3am. The local fire department said in a statement that after the end of the search operation after the fire was extinguished, authorities could confirm the death of 46 people. Another 41 people were injured.
So far, the cause of the fire has not been identified. An investigation is ongoing in this case, in which the hypothesis of a possible arson will be tested.
According to the Central Information Agency, the fire broke out on the first floor of the building, and after a while the fire spread to all floors. There are 120 apartments in the building, access to them was difficult due to the old structure and the inaccessibility of some rooms. According to the authorities, the building was inhabited by at least 100 people, most of them elderly, which could have hampered the evacuation.
A fire in a residential building in Taiwan
According to an account of a resident named Mao, who spoke to the local media, he was awakened during the night by the screams of the neighbors from the block on the other side of the street. Looking out of the window of his ninth-floor apartment, Mao saw thick smoke rising from the windows of the lower stories of the building. The man, as he says, without thinking much, grabbed his cell phone, ran into the elevator and – along with a few other residents of the ninth floor – went down to the first floor of the building.
When it turned out that the flames on the first floor were too strong, the residents took the elevator down to the basement level, from where they managed to successfully get out of the building. As Mao reports, about a minute after he left the elevator, the burning building ran out of electricity – only then did the man realize how close he was to inevitable death.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / KAOHSIUNG FIRE BUREAU