Fire at Taiwan tower block kills at least 46

At least 46 people have been killed and dozens more seriously injured in a fire at a 13-storey tower block in southern Taiwan, says officials

A residential and commercial building in the city of Kaohsiung caught fire in the early hours of Thursday morning, said the local fire department.

It took firefighters more than four hours to extinguish the blaze.

The fire department said that 79 people had been taken to hospital, including 14 in a serious condition.

The cause of the fire is still unclear.

Officials earlier warned that people may have been trapped in the residential part of the building, between the seventh and eleventh floors.

Residents in the area said they heard a loud bang that sounded like an explosion before the fire.

“The power lines may have been outside… these past few days there have been ‘boom’ sounds from the power [lines],” said one resident.

Piles of unused items on the building’s lower floors made rescue efforts more difficult.

Fire officials later urged the public not to allow rubbish to accumulate in or around their residences and to keep staircases unobstructed.

The building’s lower section had once housed restaurants, karaoke bars and a cinema, but these reportedly no longer in use.

A number of residents in the block of about 120 apartments are thought to be old or have disabilities.

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