Taipei, taiwan – The death toll from a fire in southern Taiwan that engulfed a building overnight has risen to 46, according to officials on Thursday who said at least 41 other people were injured. The 13-story building caught fire around 3 a.m. Thursday, Kaohsiung City fire officials said.
A statement from the fire department said the fire was “extremely fierce” and destroyed many floors.
Authorities say 32 bodies were sent directly to the morgue from the scene of the fire. Another 14 people who showed no signs of life were among 55 taken to the hospital. In Taiwan, official confirmation of a death can only be done in the hospital.
Another search of the building was planned before sunset, according to authorities.
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. One woman, who was not identified, said her parents aged 60 to 70 were inside.
After sunrise, firefighters 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 were burning 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. 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.