Taiwan fire: At least 46 killed and dozens injured as blaze engulfs apartment building

At least 46 people have been killed and dozens injured after a fire broke out in a 13-storey residential building in southern Taiwan.

The “extremely fierce” blaze erupted at around 3am and destroyed several floors of the tower in the city of Kaohsiung.

The fire was extinguished around dawn and firefighters were still going through the building, Kaohsiung fire chief Lee Ching-hsiu said, adding that the number of dead could rise.

An investigation has been launched into the cause of the fire, including whether it was started deliberately.

Earlier, officials said 55 people had been taken to hospital. Of those, 14 showed no signs of life.

At least 11 people found at the scene went straight to the morgue, the head of the fire department said.

Eyewitnesses told local media they heard the sound of an explosion at around 3am.

Video footage shown on Taiwanese television showed orange flames and smoke billowing out of the lower floors of the building as firefighters tackled the blaze.

The lower levels of the tower block were completely blackened where the fire had been put out.

Officials said the building is around 40 years old with shops on the lower levels and flats above.

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