A fire in southern Taiwan has killed 25 and injured dozens of people, after it engulfed a residential building overnight on Thursday.
The 13-story building caught on fire around 3 a.m., fire department officials in the city of Kaohsiung said. Officials said 55 people had been taken to the hospital, including 14 people who showed no signs of life. In Taiwan, official confirmation of a death can only be made in the hospital.
At least 11 people found on the scene were sent straight to the morgue, said the head of the fire department addressing journalists at the site of the fire.
Firefighters were conducting search and rescue efforts into the afternoon. The blaze was “extremely fierce,” and destroyed many floors of the building, according to a statement from the fire department.
Firefighters are unsure of the source of the fire, but noted flames burned most intensely where a lot of clutter had been piled up. Eyewitnesses told local media that they had heard the sound of an explosion around 3:00 am.
The building is about 40 years old, according to an official statement, with shops in the lower levels and apartments above. While the fire has been put out, the lower levels of the building were completely blackened.