Fire kills 25 people, injures 51 in southern Taiwan

The 40-year-old building caught on fire at around 3 a.m on Thursday night.

A fire engulfed a 13-story building overnight on Thursday in southern Taiwan, killing 25 people and injuring 51.

The building caught on fire at around 3 a.m., the fire department officials in the city of Kaohsiung said. The firefighters were conducting search and rescue efforts into the afternoon.

While the fire has been put out, the lower levels of the building were completely blackened.

Earlier, a spokesman for the Kaohsiung’s fire department said 14 people showed no signs of life. Later, the Taiwan officials raised the death toll to 25.

Although, in Taiwan the official confirmation of a death can only be made in the hospital. 51 people had been taken to the hospital for treatment of their injuries.

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 had noted flames burned most intensely where a lot of clutter had been piled up.

Eyewitnesses told the local media that they had heard the sound of an explosion at around 3 a.m.

The building is about 40 years old, according to an official statement, with shops in the lower levels and apartments above.

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