25 killed as fire engulfs 13-storey apartment building in southern Taiwan

A fire in southern Taiwan has killed 25 people and injured at least 51 after it engulfed a 13-storey apartment building.

he building caught fire around 3am on Thursday, fire department officials in the city of Kaohsiung said.

Crews were conducting search and rescue efforts into the afternoon.

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

A spokesman for Kaohsiung’s fire department said 25 people showed no signs of life, though in Taiwan official confirmation of a death can only be made in the hospital.

Another 51 people had been taken to hospital for treatment.

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 blaze, but said the flames burned most intensely where a lot of clutter had been piled up.

Witnesses told local media they had heard an explosion at around 3am.

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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