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Taiwan fire: At least 46 dead after fire engulfs Kaohsiung apartment building

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The fire started at the 13-storey commercial and residential building at 2:54 a.m. local time (2:54 p.m. ET) in Kaohsiung City’s Yancheng District, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA).

Rescue operations are still ongoing, with more than 377 rescue workers stationed at the scene, a spokesman for the Kaohsiung city fire office told CNN. At least 41 people were injured, he said.

Authorities initially put the death toll at seven, but city fire chief Lee Ching-hsiu warned more casualties were expected as some people may still be trapped in the residential part of the building, between the seventh and eleventh floors. .

The exterior walls of an apartment building were burned after a fire on October 14, in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

A total of 139 fire trucks and ambulances were deployed to the scene and extinguished the fire by 7:17 a.m. (7:17 p.m. ET), the CNA said. By noon, at least 62 people between the ages of 8 and 83 had been rescued.

More than 100 residents, many of them elderly with physical disabilities, live in the building, according to the CNA.

It is unclear what caused the fire, according to the CNA. Local police are reviewing surveillance footage and said they could not rule out human factors, according to the report.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen expressed “her deepest condolences” to the fire victims in a Facebook post.

Tsai promised that her government would “spare more efforts” to rescue those trapped, resettle residents affected by the fires, and provide much-needed assistance to the victims’ families.

“In the face of this serious accident, we express our deepest condolences to the victims and wish a speedy recovery to the injured,” she wrote Thursday afternoon local time.

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