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 eight people and injured 40 people.
At 2 a.m. on Thursday, a fire broke out in the Chengzhongcheng (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., with 31 people hospitalized.
According to the fire department, a fire was reported at an aging structure at No. 31 Fubei Road at 2:54 a.m. The mixed residential commercial building is 13 stories tall and was built over 40 years ago.
Two underground floors are currently not in use, while the first through fifth floors are abandoned. There are approximately 120 households residing on the 7th 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 that the fire was burning intensely in a pile of debris on the first floor.
Firefighters immediately began to attack 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.
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. Eight residents have died, while 40 people were rescued from the flames and dispatched to local hospitals.
The fire department urged the public to not allow too much rubbish to accumulate in and around their residences and to keep stairwells unobstructed. They also recommend carefully following fire and electricity safety guidelines, installing smoke detectors, and calling 119 in the event of a fire.
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