Couple asked about fire in Taiwan that killed 46

A local couple were questioned about a fire in the southern Taiwanese town of Kaohsiung that left 46 people dead, state media reported on Friday.

The fire broke out in a 13-story, 40-year-old building in Kaohsiung City on Thursday, leaving at least 46 dead and 41 injured.

Police said shortly before the fire the man and woman were drinking and arguing in a room on the ground floor of the building, where a perfume burner and cans were found, the central news agency reported.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday asked the government to investigate the cause of the deadly fire as soon as possible.

In a statement, presidential spokesman Xavier Chang said Tsai called on authorities to help the injured and the families of the victims as much as possible.

Tsai also called for a thorough review of related regulations on aging buildings.

The building, located in the declining Yancheng district of Kaohsiung, has been home to economically disadvantaged families and elderly people with reduced mobility since the gradual closure of lower-story shops, theaters and entertainment venues some two decades ago.

“We are all deeply saddened by this fire (…) I will not shirk the responsibilities I should take,” Kaohsiung mayor Chen Chi-mai said at a hospital where he visited injured survivors of the ‘fire.

Chen also visited a municipal funeral home to express his condolences to the families of the victims.

Tsai and some officials, including Chen, announced that they planned to donate a month’s salary to the city’s relief fund.

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