TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — A fire engulfed a 13-story building overnight in southern Taiwan, killing nine people and injuring 44, the island’s semi-official Central News Agency reported Thursday.
The building caught on fire around 3 a.m., fire department officials in the city of Kaohsiung said. Firefighters were conducting search and rescue efforts Thursday morning.
While the fire has been put out, the lower levels of the building were completely blackened.
The blaze was “extremely fierce,” and destroyed many floors of the building, according to the statement from the fire department.
Firefighters are unsure of the source of the fire, but noted flames burned most intensely where a lot of clutter had been piled up.
The building is about 40 years old, according to an official statement, with shops in the lower levels and apartments above.