Fire leaves 46 dead, dozens injured in southern Taiwan


TAIPEI: The death toll of a fire In the south Taiwan that engulfed a building overnight has risen to 46 dead, according to local officials who said at least 41 other people were injured.
The 13-story building caught fire around 3 a.m. Thursday, city firefighters Kaohsiung said. A statement from the fire department said the fire was “extremely fierce” and destroyed many floors.
At least 11 bodies were sent directly to the morgue, fire chief Li Ching-hsiu he told reporters at the scene. In Taiwan, official confirmation of a death can only be done in the hospital.
Video shown on Taiwanese television showed orange flames and smoke billowing from the lower floors of the building as firefighters sprayed water from the street. After sunrise, they could be seen spraying water on the middle floors of the still-smoking building from elevated platforms.
The cause of the fire was unclear, but firefighters noted that the flames burned most intensely where a large amount of clutter had piled up, according to the fire department statement.
Eyewitnesses told Taiwanese media that they heard an explosion around 3 a.m.
The building is about 40 years old with shops on the lower levels and apartments on the upper levels. The lower floors were completely blackened.

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