The Kerry TJ Logistics warehouse in Taoyuan City, Taiwan. Photo: Google Maps

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Three Vietnamese migrant workers were killed and another is in a critical condition following a fierce blaze at a new warehouse in Taoyuan in northwestern Taiwan.

The Taoyuan Fire Department received reports last Wednesday (February 6) of the fire at a four-story building – Kerry TJ Logistics in Guanyin district – at about 10am, the Taiwan Apple Daily News reported.

Officials said work was being done in the building by an independent contractor for a project by a Taiwanese man surnamed Chen. At the time of the incident, six Vietnamese workers, four of them temporary hires, were assigned to repair and maintain the air-conditioning system on the second floor.

Two of the contractor’s crew – a man and a woman – were able to get out of the warehouse and escape the blaze. They met a rescue team outside the building and said that four of their compatriots were still missing inside.

Two of the Vietnamese workers were found inside at about noon, but had suffered burns and smoke inhalation. One of the men, surnamed Nguyen, aged30, died in hospital, while the other, surnamed Tang, aged 34, was rushed to hospital in a critical condition.

Firefighters were not able to extinguish the blaze until 8.20pm on the same day. But the bodies of the two remaining Vietnamese who were missing were not found until 11am the next day.

Local authorities are investigating the cause of the fire, while the Department of Labor in Taoyuan is looking into whether the contractor Chen had legal authority to hire the migrant workers.

The warehouse, which opened on December 1 last year, was reportedly built at a cost of NT$1.5 billion (US$48.8 million), but had yet to fully open for business.

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