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Fire in southern Taiwan kills 14, injures 51

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A fire in southern Taiwan killed 14 and injured at least 51 people after it engulfed a 13-story building overnight Thursday.

The building caught fire around 3 a.m., Kaohsiung City Fire Department officials said. Firefighters were conducting search and rescue efforts until late afternoon.

Although the fire was put out, the lower levels of the building were completely blackened.

A spokesman for the Kaohsiung Fire Department said 14 people showed no signs of life, although in Taiwan official confirmation of a death can only be made at the hospital. 51 people were taken to the hospital to receive treatment for their injuries.

The fire was “extremely fierce” and destroyed many floors of the building, according to a fire department statement.

Firefighters are unsure of the source of the blaze, but noted that the flames burned the brightest where a large amount of clutter had piled up.

Eyewitnesses told local media that they had heard the sound of an explosion around 3 a.m. local time.

The building is about 40 years old, according to an official statement, with shops on the lower levels and apartments on the upper levels.

The fire engulfed a 13-story building overnight in southern Taiwan. (EBC / The Associated Press)

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