Golf ball factory explodes killing at least six and injuring more than 100

At least six people have been killed and dozens more wounded in a devastating fire at a factory that makes golf balls.

The blaze broke out at about 5.30pm on Friday in southern Taiwan, and there are fears that more people could have died in the disaster. Four firefighters are among those confirmed dead following a series of explosions that tore through the building, which is in Pingtung county.

READ MORE: 74 dead as people tried to escape building blaze that left 'bodies stacked up at exits'

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As well as those who are known to have been killed and injured, rescuers were desperately trying to find three more factory workers who remained unaccounted for. More than 100 people were taken to hospital with injuries.

The country’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, sent her condolences to the families of the victims and said she would travel to Pingtung to visit those affected by the disaster.

She said the Pingtung county authorities had set up an operations centre to offer assistance to those impacted by the fire. A state of emergency was declared in the area while emergency services battled to bring the situation under control.

Residents near Pingtung Technology Industrial Park were urged to stay indoors, close their windows and wear face masks if the black smoke from the fire came in their direction. It’s thought the factory was operated by Launch Technologies.

Chou Chun-mi, magistrate of Pingtung county, said in a Facebook post that the cause of the fire was still under investigation.
"Facing the grief of the family members, I could not say anything except to bow deeply, apologise, and express my deepest condolences," she said in the post, after visiting a funeral home and meeting victims' families.

Authorities said an initial theory was that natural gas may have contributed to the explosions, which happened while fire crews were attempting to put out the blaze.

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