Sat, Mar 11, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Fire kills four at retirement home

Staff writer, with CNA

Firefighters use quilts as a stretcher to rescue a resident of a burning nursing home in Taoyuan yesterday.

Photo: Li Jung-ping, Taipei Times

Four people were killed and 13 injured in a fire that swept through a nursing home in Taoyuan early yesterday, the Taoyuan Fire Department said.

The fire broke out at about 5am at the nursing home on Longyuan Road in Longtan District (龍潭) and quickly spread throughout the building, the department said.

Seventeen people, including a caregiver, were rescued from the burning building after about 100 firefighters and other first responders rushed to the scene, the department said, adding that the fire was extinguished within 30 minutes.

Four of the people pulled from the building were pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital, while the other 13 were being treated for smoke inhalation and various degrees of burns, department Chief Hu Ying-ta (胡英達) said.

Some of the injured were in a critical condition, hospitals said.

Authorities were investigating the cause of the fire, but said the nursing home appeared to have violated fire codes multiple times in the past.

Department officials said they had carried out fire code inspections at the nursing home six times over the past year and had found that it did not meet several fire safety standards, but added that those irregularities were later corrected.

For example, during one inspection the water capacity of fire suppression equipment was found to be insufficient, they said.

Taoyuan Department of Social Welfare Director-General Ku Tzu-lung (古梓龍) said that multiple inspections conducted by his department in the past had also found that the nursing home was housing more residents than permitted and was understaffed.

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