A fire ripped through a building in Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s southern metropolis, on Thursday killing 46 people and wounding scores more in the island’s worst inferno in decades.
According to officials, the fire broke out in the 13-story mixed-use building in the early hours of Thursday morning, spreading across numerous stories before firemen were able to put it out.
Kaohsiung’s fire department said it sent more than 70 trucks to tackle the blaze, which took four hours to put out.
According to the fire service, the fire “caused 41 injuries and 46 deaths,” with the majority of the fatalities occurring on floors seven through eleven, which contained residential units.
The first five floors were for commercial use, but were unoccupied.
Residents reported hearing a number of loud noises when the fire first broke out on the lower floors.
The building was 40 years old, according to a constable with the Kaohsiung police department, and was primarily populated by low-income individuals.
Survivors believed that approximately 100 people resided in the apartment building, according to the policeman, who only gave his surname Liu.
Officials have not ruled out the possibility of arson, he added. There were forensics teams on the scene, and more searches of the premises were scheduled before dusk.