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46 killed, dozens injured after 13-story building in Taiwan catches fire

Taiwan Apartment Building Fire
Posted at 4:15 AM, Oct 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-14 10:38:39-04

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Officials say the death toll from a fire in southern Taiwan that engulfed a building overnight has risen to 46 people.

Fire authorities say at least 41 people have been injured.

The 13-story building caught fire around 3 a.m. Thursday in the city of Kaohsiung. Nearby residents said they heard an explosion before the building caught fire.

A fire department statement says the blaze was extremely fierce and destroyed many floors.

The building is about 40 years old, with shops on the lower levels and apartments above.

The BBC reports that it took firefighters four hours to extinguish the blaze.

Taiwan Fire
In this image taken from video by Taiwan's EBC, fire and smoke pour out from a building in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. The fire engulfed a 13-story building overnight in southern Taiwan, the island's semi-official Central News Agency reported Thursday. (EBC via AP )

The lower floors were completely blackened.

Video on Taiwanese television showed orange flames and smoke billowing out of the lower floors as firefighters sprayed water from the street.

According to CNN, more than 100 residents live in the building, many of them older people with physical disabilities. One woman, who was not identified, says her 60-to-70-year-old parents were inside at the time of the blaze.