A fire incident in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung has already claimed 46 lives and left fourteen more seriously injured. The fire broke out in the 13-storey tower block, which is a residential and commercial building, during the early hours of Thursday morning, said the local fire department.
The officials said that it took firefighters more than four hours to just extinguish the blaze. They also warned that several people may have been trapped, especially in the residential blocks of the building, between 7th and 11th floors. The BBC quoted the fire department as saying that 70 people have been taken to the hospital, of which 14 were in serious condition.
As per a few reports in the local media, the exact cause of the fire is not yet known. But local residents have been quoted as saying that they heard a loud bang-like explosion sound before the fire tore through the building. "The power lines may have been outside, these past few days there have been 'boom' sounds from the power lines," said one resident of the building in an interview to Reuters.
It's time to be alert
Fire tragedies, unfortunately, occur in any corner of the world and descend suddenly. With the festival and firecracker time already upon India, it is an incident that the authorities can learn from. Reportedly, piles and piles of misused objects and items which were kept in the lower floors of the building made the rescue efforts more difficult. Fire officials were widely quoted through social and local media, urging the public to ensure no rubbish was allowed to gather in or around their residential areas. They also urged to keep the staircase unobstructed.
Fire incidents, disproportionately affect pets, disabled people or the elderly population. A large number of the residents in the block, comprising of 120 apartments, are considered to be old or with disabilities. The building's lower floors once comprised of restaurants, cinema halls, bars and pubs but they were not being used anymore.