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 response to 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 hearth bureau instructed CNN. At the least 41 individuals have suffered accidents, he mentioned.
Initially, authorities put the demise toll at seven, however the metropolis’s hearth chief Lee Ching-hsiu warned extra casualties had been anticipated as some individuals should be trapped within the residential a part of the constructing, between the seventh and eleventh flooring.
A complete of 139 hearth vehicles and ambulances had been deployed to the scene and extinguished the fireplace by 7:17 a.m. (7:17 pm ET), CNA mentioned. By noon, at the very least 62 individuals between the ages of eight and 83 had been rescued.
Greater than 100 residents, a lot of them senior residents with bodily disabilities, stay within the constructing, in response to CNA.
It’s unclear what induced the fireplace, in response to CNA. Native police are reviewing surveillance footage and mentioned they can’t rule out human elements, in response to the report.
Lee instructed CNA the variety of casualties was excessive as a result of a mixture 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 hearth 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 flooring and above for housing.
Whereas there have been now not any companies on the primary six flooring, there have been a variety of flammable gadgets there. This was one of many fundamental causes for the heavy casualties, mentioned Chen.
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen expressed her “deepest condolences” to the victims of the fireplace in a Fb put up.
Tsai promised that her authorities will “spare essentially the most efforts” to rescue those that are trapped, resettle the residents affected by the fires, and supply obligatory help to households of victims.
“Dealing with this severe accident, we lengthen our deepest condolences to the victims, and we want the injured a speedy restoration,” she wrote on Thursday afternoon native time.