At least 12 people were killed and 60 injured in a hospital blaze, believed to be one of the worst hospital fires in Taiwan in recent years, AFP reports.

The fire started in the early hours of Tuesday and is believed to have started in a storage room on the second floor of the Sinying hospital in Tainan city, southern Taiwan, a fire official told reporters. The blaze tore through the five-storey nursing facility which houses elderly patients and bed-ridden patients.

More than 100 patients were evacuated from the hospital while those injured were rushed to hospitals, a local health official said. The elderly patients – many of whom are on respirators – were unable to move on their own, making the situation worse, Tainan Mayor Lai Ching te told AP.

The fire was extinguished within 45 minutes of it being reported. Authorities are still investigating on the cause of the fire while most of the deaths were believed to be caused by smoke inhalation, AFP reports.