The blaze began within the 13-story business and residential constructing at 2:54 a.m. native time (2:54 p.m. ET) in Kaohsiung metropolis’s Yancheng district, in keeping with Taiwan’s official Central Information Company (CNA).
Rescue operations are nonetheless underway, with greater than 377 rescue employees deployed to the scene, a spokesman on the Kaohsiung metropolis fireplace bureau informed CNN. At the least 41 folks have suffered accidents, he mentioned.
Initially, authorities put the demise toll at seven, however the metropolis’s fireplace chief Lee Ching-hsiu warned extra casualties had been anticipated as some folks should still be trapped within the residential a part of the constructing, between the seventh and eleventh flooring.
A complete of 139 fireplace vans and ambulances had been deployed to the scene and extinguished the hearth by 7:17 a.m. (7:17 pm ET), CNA mentioned. By noon, no less than 62 folks between the ages of 8 and 83 had been rescued.
Greater than 100 residents, a lot of them senior residents with bodily disabilities, reside within the constructing, in keeping with CNA.
It’s unclear what brought about the hearth, in keeping with CNA. Native police are reviewing surveillance footage and mentioned they can not rule out human components, in keeping with the report.
Lee informed CNA the variety of casualties was excessive as a consequence of a mix of things: The fireplace occurred in a single day; the vast majority of residents had been aged; the stairwells had been filled with particles; and the constructing supplies didn’t meet fireplace security requirements.
Kaohsiung mayor Chen Chi-mai apologized at a night information convention.
He defined that the primary six flooring of the constructing had been constructed for business use, with the seventh ground and above for housing.
Whereas there have been now not any companies on the primary six flooring, there have been plenty of flammable gadgets there. This was one of many predominant causes for the heavy casualties, mentioned Chen.
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen expressed her “deepest condolences” to the victims of the hearth in a Fb publish.
Tsai promised that her authorities will “spare probably the most efforts” to rescue those that are trapped, resettle the residents affected by the fires, and supply mandatory help to households of victims.
“Going through this critical accident, we prolong our deepest condolences to the victims, and we want the injured a speedy restoration,” she wrote on Thursday afternoon native time.