Rescue operations after the fire in Kaohsiung city in southern Taiwan.  (STR / CNA / AFP).

Forty-six people were killed and dozens more injured when a fire raged through a building in the southern city of Kaohsiung. Taiwan, one of the deadliest in a block of flats for 20 years in the world.

“The fire caused 41 injuries and 46 deaths,” Kaohsiung firefighters announced in a statement.

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The fire broke out in a 13-story building in the early hours of the day and devastated several of them before firefighters could control it, authorities said.

In the photographs published by the Taiwanese official press agency Central News Agency (CNA) it was seen smoke and huge flames shooting out of the building as firefighters tried to put out the flames.

When the sun rose, the magnitude of the incident appeared with all its gravity: the facade of the building burned in all the floors, completely black in the lower ones, and the broken glass.

Most of the victims were between the seventh and eleventh floors, where there were residential apartments, according to firefighters.

The first five floors, intended for commercial use, were empty.

Firefighters dispatched more than 70 trucks to the scene and it took four hours to extinguish the flames.

Some residents claim to have heard loud noises on the lower floors, where the fire.

“I heard many loud explosions + boom, boom, boom + on the ground floor and I went downstairs to investigate,” a resident who did not want to give his name told Formosa TV. “Then I realized that there was a fire and I called the police ”.

Rescue operations after the fire in Kaohsiung city in southern Taiwan. (STR / CNA / AFP).

Another survivor stated, under anonymity, that when she opened the door to go out, “the hallway was full of smoke negro”.

As night fell on Thursday, the police announced that the rescue services had completed their search tasks at the property without finding any new victims.

A Kaohsiung policeman told AFP that the building is 40 years old and that it was home to people with low incomes, around 100 persons according to the survivors.

Authorities have not ruled out the possibility that the fire it was intentional, he added.

Kaohsiung Fire Chief Lee Ching-hsiu explained that most of the residents were in bed when the fire was declared. fire, according to quotes from the CNA agency. Among them were older people, with dementia or physical disabilities, he added.

Firefighters and medical workers walk past a damaged residential building after a fire in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.  (Photo: REUTERS / Woo Swee Kay).
Firefighters and medical workers walk past a damaged residential building after a fire in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. (Photo: REUTERS / Woo Swee Kay).

Security issues

Its about fire deadliest in Taiwan in several decades. The last fire With a similar toll it dates back to 1995, when 64 people died in a crowded karaoke club.

It is also one of the deadliest in a residential building in the world in the last 20 years.

TaiwanA country hit by earthquakes and cyclones, it is governed by strict building codes, but safety standards are often left in theory and not enforced, especially in older buildings.

Some of the recent earthquakes have caused deaths from collapsed old buildings that did not meet construction standards.

At the beginning of the year, 49 people were killed when a train was hit by a truck that slid onto the tracks, in the island’s worst railway catastrophe in decades.

Subsequent investigations revealed that government agencies had ignored warnings of the risk of an incident on that section of the road located on the side of a mountain.

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