At least 5 die in Taipei apartment fire

Fire believed to have started in restaurant early Saturday morning

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A fire raged through a restaurant and apartment block in Taipei's Wanhua District Saturday morning.

A fire raged through a restaurant and apartment block in Taipei's Wanhua District Saturday morning. (CNA photo)

UPDATE: Saturday March 14 - 05:30 p.m.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Five people died with one in critical condition after a fire raged through a restaurant and an old apartment building in Taipei City’s Wanhua District, reports said Saturday (March 14).

According to the fire department, the blaze started around 6 a.m. in a building located inside an alley off Huaxi Street, a tourist destination in an older part of town. When firefighters arrived, the first and second floors were alight, but within an hour the blaze was put out.

However, when the firefighters entered the building, they found nine people inside, including three who were only slightly injured, CNA reported. A restaurant occupied the first and second floor, where the fire is believed to have started, while the third and fourth floors were subdivided into 16 to 20 apartments.

Initially, six people did not show any signs of life. At the hospital, four were declared dead while attempts to revive two others continued. However, later in the afternoon, one person was also confirmed as having passed away, reports said, leaving one in critical condition.

An investigation has been launched into the cause of the blaze. One woman living in a nearby building told UDN she had heard an explosion. Meanwhile, a resident of the apartment block who had gone out to have breakfast in a park said he had seen the fire spread quickly throughout the building’s lower floors.