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 accordance with Taiwan’s official Central News Agency (CNA).
Rescue operations are nonetheless underway, with greater than 377 rescue staff deployed to the scene, a spokesman on the Kaohsiung metropolis fireplace bureau advised CNN. At least 41 individuals have suffered accidents, he mentioned.
Initially, authorities put the loss of life toll at seven, however the metropolis’s fireplace chief Lee Ching-hsiu warned extra casualties have been anticipated as some individuals 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 have 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 8 and 83 had been rescued.
More than 100 residents, lots of them senior residents with bodily disabilities, stay within the constructing, in accordance with CNA.
It is unclear what precipitated the fireplace, in accordance with CNA. Local police are reviewing surveillance footage and mentioned they can not rule out human components, in accordance with the report.
Lee advised CNA the variety of casualties was excessive as a result of a mix of things: The fireplace occurred in a single day; nearly all of residents have been aged; the stairwells have 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 have been constructed for business use, with the seventh ground and above for housing.
While there have been not any companies on the primary six flooring, there have been numerous flammable objects 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 Facebook put up.
Tsai promised that her authorities will “spare the most efforts” to rescue those that are trapped, resettle the residents affected by the fires, and supply needed help to households of victims.
“Facing this serious accident, we extend our deepest condolences to the victims, and we wish the injured a speedy recovery,” she wrote on Thursday afternoon native time.