2 with no vital signs, dozens injured in building fire in Kaohsiung

10/14/2021 10:28 AM
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Kaohsiung, Oct. 14 (CNA) A building fire in southern Taiwan's Kaohsiung early Thursday has left at least 31 people in hospital with two at the scene showing no vital signs, according to fire officials. 

The Kaohsiung City Fire Bureau received a report at 2:54 a.m. Thursday of a blaze that had broken out in a 13-story commercial and residential building on Fubei Road in the city's Yancheng District.

A total of 159 firefighters were dispatched to the blaze, and the fire was extinguished at 7:17 a.m.

As of 9 a.m. firefighters had rescued 31 people (23 male and 8 female) and rushed them to hospital.

Two of those rescued were suffering from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA), meaning that they had no heartbeat and were not breathing before arriving at hospital, according to fire officials.

Firefighters are still combing the building for survivors and are still investigating the cause of the blaze.

The fire allegedly broke out on the first floor of the 40-year-old building before it engulfed the entire building, which houses 120 residential units between the seventh and 11th floors, according to fire officials.

Officials said the building's age and stacks of belongings blocking access into many areas had made the rescue more difficult.

Fubei village chief Lin Chuan-fu (林傳富) told reporters that he heard a loud explosion in the middle of the night and woke up to find the building on fire.

He said over 100 residents, many of them senior citizens with dementia or physical disabilities, live in the building.

Lin added that he was worried that many of them had been unable to escape to safety.

Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), who was present at the scene, said the mixed-use building was built around 1981 and the first to sixth floor of the building previously housed several now-abandoned movie theaters, restaurants and karaoke clubs.

Photo courtesy of a member of the public
Photo courtesy of a member of the public

(By Hung Hsueh-kuang and Christie Chen)

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Update

Oct. 15: Two people under investigation for Kaohsiung building fire

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