A fire destroyed an apartment building that housed mostly elderly people, killing 46 people.
Authorities say a major fire in a Taiwanese apartment complex killed 46 people and injured at least 41 others early Thursday.
According to the Associated Press, the fire started around 3 a.m. in Kaohsiung, and flames and smoke blasted out from the lower floors of the 13-story structure as firemen sought to put out the fire from the street and aerial platforms.
Throughout the day, rescue crews searched the mixed-use business and residential building for victims. According to local media, many of the residents of the 40-year-old building were elderly and lived alone in cramped quarters. Many of the residents were physically challenged. In the late afternoon, 32 bodies were confirmed dead and 14 more were taken to the hospital despite displaying no signs of life. At the hospital in Taiwan, official confirmation of death is given.
“As a result of this tragic event, we offer our heartfelt condolences to the victims and wish the injured a swift recovery,” Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen posted on Facebook.
See the list below for more Associated Press reporting.
After dawn, firefighters could be seen shooting water from high overhead platforms into the still blazing building’s middle stories. On Taiwanese television, one woman stated that her 60- to 70-year-old parents were still inside.
According to Taiwan’s Central News Agency, the building’s age and mountains of debris obstructing access to numerous areas hindered search and rescue attempts.
According to the Central News Agency, the building housed 120 residential units on the upper floors, as well as a closed movie theater, abandoned eateries, and karaoke clubs on the lower floors.
According to the United Daily News, a prominent daily, fire extinguishers were placed last month, but only three per floor because people couldn’t afford to pay more.
According to Taiwanese media, the fire looked to have begun on the bottom floor.
According to the United Daily News, police are concentrating their efforts on a first-floor tea store whose owner allegedly clashed with his girlfriend on Wednesday. According to the publication, they had not ruled out arson.
A nightclub fire in Taichung, Taiwan’s third-largest city, killed 64 people in 1995, making it the country’s biggest accident in recent memory.