Tuesday, October 19, 2021

At least 46 dead after fire torches 13-story building in southern Taiwan

October 14 (NWN) – Taiwan authorities say about 50 people died on Thursday in a fire in the 13-story building.

The fire started early Thursday in a building in the Yancheng district of the Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung, officials said.

At least 46 people died and dozens were injured, authorities said.

The fire is believed to be the deadliest in Taiwan in decades. Officials worked to determine if other people remained in the building.

It is not yet known what caused the fire. Firefighters on Thursday fought the fire for hours.

Investigators are looking into reports that dozens of low-income residents, including the elderly and disabled, lived on the upper floors. It was also reported that the building was popular with squatters, they said.

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The building, which is the third largest in Kaohsiung, began to collapse after another fire in 1999, leaving parts of it unoccupied. Once during its heyday, the building housed restaurants, bars and a cinema.

More recent images of the building have shown its hazardous safety conditions, including exposed power lines, debris, and crumbling water lines.

A similar fire in a so-called “ghost building” in Oakland, California in 2016 killed 36 people.

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