The blaze started in the 13-story commercial and residential building at 2:54 a.m. local time (2:54 p.m. ET) in Kaohsiung city’s Yancheng district, Taiwan’s official Central News Agency (CNA) said.
Authorities have warned the number of casualties could rise as some people may still be trapped in the residential part of the building, between the seventh and eleventh floors, the city’s fire chief, Lee Ching-hsiu, said.
Almost 160 firefighters were deployed to the scene and extinguished the fire by 7:17 a.m. (7:17 pm ET), CNA said. By midday, at least 62 people between the ages of 8 and 83 had been rescued.
More than 100 residents, many of them senior citizens with physical disabilities, live in the building, according to CNA.