A Hsinchu City apartment complex fire has killed two firefighters while 173 residents remain trapped, China’s Central News Agency (CNA) reported citing local authorities, Report informs referring to The Sun.

The Hsinchu City Fire Bureau received report of the fire at 10.55 pm Sunday. Firefighters at the scene found that cables in the pipe room were on fire and emitting thick smoke. They used two water pipes and managed to bring the blaze under control at around 11.35 pm, although residual smoldering continued. There was a blackout while people were trapped in the building, so firefighters Lee Yung-chen and Chou Li-hsin went inside to try to rescue them, said the bureau.

A firefighter told CNA that the pair were taking the stairs to the third and eighth floor, where the people were reportedly trapped, when they discovered their oxygen was insufficient.

The firefighter said they received a distress signal. More firefighters were then dispatched to rescue their colleagues, but after receiving another signal, no more was heard from them. >Lee and Chou were subsequently found collapsed on the third-floor staircase.

The firefighter said the thick and sticky smoke from the burning cables may have hindered the pair from escaping.

Of the 292 people in the building, 119 have been evacuated. Currently, 173 people inside and on the roof are still trapped and waiting for rescue, the bureau said.

As the building is still undergoing smoke ventilation, the bureau has dispatched a ladder truck so residents in immediate danger or those who are unwell can be evacuated and sent to hospital, the bureau said.

As the smoke is mostly in the staircase area, the bureau suggests other residents remain inside their homes to prevent smoke inhalation.