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46 dead, 41 injured after Kaohsiung 'ghost building' fire

Blaze in dilapidated building took 159 firefighters 5 hours to extinguish

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(Facebook, Reporter.taiwan photo)

(Facebook, Reporter.taiwan photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A massive blaze that started in an apartment in a mixed-use building in Kaohsiung early Thursday morning (Oct. 14) has killed 46 people and injured 41.

At 2 a.m. on Thursday, a fire broke out in the Cheng Chung Cheng (城中城) Building in Kaohsiung's Yancheng District, a deteriorating structure dubbed locally as "Kaohsiung's No. 1 ghost building." The Kaohsiung City Fire Department was able to extinguish the fire by 7 a.m., having retrieved 87 people, including 14 who lost vital signs and were later declared dead, 32 found dead at the scene, and 41 who suffered minor injuries, reported CNA.

According to the fire department, a fire was reported at an aging structure at 31, Fubei Road, at 2:54 a.m. The mixed residential-commercial building is 13 stories tall and was built 40 years ago.

46 dead, 41 injured after Kaohsiung 'ghost building' fire
(CNA photo)

Two underground floors are currently not in use, while the first to fifth floors are abandoned. There are approximately 120 households residing on the seventh through 11th floors.

When the blaze broke out, the fire department dispatched 75 vehicles and 159 firefighters to the building. At the scene, firefighters found the fire was burning intensely on a pile of debris on the first floor.

Firefighters attacked the blaze from the front ground level, while at the same time using ladder trucks to spray water from above and rescue trapped residents. Other crews sprayed water from the side as water tenders were deployed to ensure a steady supply of water.

46 dead, 41 injured after Kaohsiung 'ghost building' fire
(CNA photo)

However, the fire continued to rage due to a large amount of debris and the dilapidated state of the building. Several floors suffered severe damage and firefighters struggled to evacuate all residents.

Firefighters were not able to bring the blaze under control until 4:51 a.m. and finally were able to extinguish it at 7:17 a.m. Forty-six residents died, while 41 were rescued from the flames and dispatched to local hospitals.

The fire department urged the public not to let rubbish accumulate in and around their residences and to keep stairwells unobstructed. They also recommend following fire and electricity safety guidelines, installing smoke detectors, and calling 119 in the event of a fire.

46 dead, 41 injured after Kaohsiung 'ghost building' fire
(Facebook, Reporter.taiwan photo)

46 dead, 41 injured after Kaohsiung 'ghost building' fire
(Facebook, Reporter.taiwan photo)

46 dead, 41 injured after Kaohsiung 'ghost building' fire
(Facebook, Reporter.taiwan photo)

46 dead, 41 injured after Kaohsiung 'ghost building' fire
(Taiwan News, Public photo)

46 dead, 41 injured after Kaohsiung 'ghost building' fire
(Taiwan News, Public photo)

46 dead, 41 injured after Kaohsiung 'ghost building' fire
(CNA photo)

46 dead, 41 injured after Kaohsiung 'ghost building' fire
(CNA photo)

46 dead, 41 injured after Kaohsiung 'ghost building' fire
Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (center) inspects scene of fire. (CNA photo)


Updated : 2021-10-22 01:28 GMT+08:00