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46 die in Kaohsiung blaze, with 86 rescued

China Daily | Updated: 2021-10-15 08:00
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Firefighters search for victims of a fire at a residential building in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, on Thursday. LAM YIK FEI/GETTY IMAGES

At least 46 people died after a fire broke out in a building in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, on Thursday, China Central Television reported, with 86 others rescued by 4 pm, including 41 who were injured.

The commercial and residential building caught fire at 2:54 am. The city's fire department sent 75 fire engines and 159 rescue workers to the scene. The fire was controlled at 4:41 am and extinguished at 7:16 am, the fire department told CCTV.

The 40-year-old building had 13 floors above ground and two floors below ground. The two floors below ground were empty and the first five floors above ground were in an abandoned state. About 120 households lived from the seventh to the 11th floors, mostly "vulnerable and marginalized residents and tenants", the fire department said.

Lee Ching-hsiu, the city's fire chief, said on Thursday afternoon that the fire department had completed search and rescue from the seventh floor to the 11th floor. The fire department and local police were still investigating the cause of the fire.

Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chimai said the local authorities could not rule out arson and the police had taken four people away for further investigation.

In a joint statement, the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council and the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits expressed deep condolences to the compatriots who died in the accident and sincere sympathy to the families of the injured.

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