Taiwan Tower Fire Kills At Least 46 People

Fire At Taiwan Tower Block

At slightest 46 people were killed and dozens more seriously injured in a fire at a 13-story tower in southern Taiwan, authorities said, A residential and commercial building in the city of Kaohsiung caught fire in the early hours of Thursday morning, the local fire department said.

It took firefighters more than four hours to extinguish the fire, The fire department told the BBC that 79 people had been taken to hospital, including 14 in serious condition, The cause of the fire is unclear and investigators are on the scene.

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Officials previously warned that people could have been trapped in the residential part of the building, between the seventh and eleventh floors, Nearby residents told local media they heard a loud bang that sounded like an explosion before the fire.

“The power lines may have been outside … these last few days there have been ‘boom’ sounds from the power [lines],” said one resident, according to the Reuters news agency, Piles of unused items on the lower floors of the building hampered rescue efforts.

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Firefighters later urged the public not to allow trash to accumulate in or around their residences and to keep stairways unobstructed. The lower section of the building once housed restaurants, karaoke bars, and a movie theater, but they were reportedly no longer in use, Several residents in the block of approximately 120 apartments are believed to be elderly or have disabilities.