Taiwanese officials say a midnight fire at a nursing home has killed 12 elderly patients and injured 70 others.

Hsinying Hospital official Tsai Ming-shih says the 12 patients died of smoke inhalation early Tuesday as fire tore through the nursing home located on the second floor of the hospital.

Tsai says the fire was put out in 40 minutes and rescuers quickly evacuated the patients. Seventy of them were later treated at nearby hospitals for burns or inhaling smoke.

He says most of the victims were bedridden patients who were too frail to run for their lives.

Hsinying Hospital is located in Tainan city in southern Taiwan and run by the Health Ministry. Officials say they will investigate the cause of the fire.