The fire broke out in a 13-story mixed-use building in the wee hours of the day Thursday, authorities said.

It was one of the world’s deadliest apartment building fires in twenty years. Forty-six people died and at least 41 were injured Thursday, October 14, in a fire that broke out in a building in the city of Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.

The fire started in a 13-story mixed-use building in the wee hours of the day, authorities said, and ravaged several floors before being brought under control by firefighters. Photos released by Taiwan’s state-run Central News Agency showed smoke billowing from the building’s windows as firefighters desperately tried to put out the flames.

Most of the victims were between the seventh and eleventh floors, which housed residential apartments, firefighters said. The first five floors, intended for commercial use, were unoccupied.

Firefighters dispatched more than 70 trucks to tackle the blaze, which they took four hours to put out. The trail of arson is not yet ruled out at this stage.

The last fire with a death toll of a similar magnitude in Taiwan dates back to 1995, when 64 people died in a crowded karaoke club. Taiwan has strict building codes, but there is often a gap between these safety standards and the way they are enforced, especially in older buildings.


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