Officials say at least 46 people have been killed in an “extremely fierce” fire that engulfed a 13-story building overnight in Kaohsiung city.

Fire and smoke pour out from a building in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan on October 14, 2021.
Fire and smoke pour out from a building in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan on October 14, 2021. (hons / AP)

A fire in southern Taiwan has killed 46 and injured dozens of people after it engulfed a residential building overnight.

The Kaohsiung fire department said in a statement that after completing a search of the building they were able to confirm 46 deaths.

The 13-story building caught on fire around 3 am on Thursday [2000 GMT Wednesday], fire department officials in the city of Kaohsiung said.

The blaze was “extremely fierce,” and destroyed many floors of the building, according to a statement from the fire department.

Mayor Chen Chi-mai said the building was partly abandoned, having previously been host to restaurants, karaoke lounges and a cinema.

The government is investigating the cause including whether arson was to blame.

The building is about 40 years old, according to an official statement, with shops in the lower levels and apartments above.

While the fire has been extinguished, the lower levels of the building were completely blackened.

Source: AP