Wed, Jan 11, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Fire, gas poisoning kill seven in tragic accidents

SAD SCENES Three young boys were killed by a fire in their locked house in Hsinchu, while a pregnant woman and three others were killed by leaking gas in Changhua

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Seven people died yesterday in two separate, tragic accidents -- a fire that left three young brothers dead in Hsinchu City and a gas-poisoning incident that killed four in Changhua County.

The three brothers killed in the fire were 8, 6 and 4 years old, and were found dead in the bathroom of their locked home, still clutching each other.

Police said the parents locked the house to prevent their sons from leaving when they went to work yesterday morning.

Police said they lived in a room built on top of a two-story house in the city.

The fire occurred yesterday at noon. Although it was swiftly put out by firefighters, they did not arrive in time to save the three boys.

Police are still investigating the cause of the fire.

The children's parents were seen on local TV news rushing home quickly and crying bitterly at the scene.

"The three brothers' parents will be charged with violating the Children's and Juvenile's Welfare Law (違反兒童及少年福利法) by leaving the three sons alone at home," said a press statement from the Hsinchu City Police Bureau.

The law stipulates that parents cannot leave children under six unaccompanied by an adult.

Four people also died yesterday in a gas poisoning incident in Changhua County blamed on a faulty gas water heater.

Police said on Monday evening that an 18-year-old pregnant woman surnamed Lee brought her boyfriend home, and that they had decided to get engaged yesterday.

The four dead were Lee, her boyfriend (the baby's father), her mother -- a 38-year-old woman surnamed Lin -- and the mother's boyfriend, surnamed Tsai.

Lee's boyfriend took a shower yesterday morning with all the windows in the house closed. Police say the water heater in the bathroom malfunctioned, leaking gas that killed the four.

After smelling gas, the family's neighbors alerted police, who rushed to the house but found the boyfriend, the pregnant woman, her mother and her mother's friend all dead from gas poisoning.

Police said Lee's boyfriend was found dead naked in the bathroom, with hot waters still running, while the three others died in the living room.

Doctors tried to save the 18-year-old woman's baby but it died from oxygen deprivation. The woman, surnamed Lee, was expected to give birth next month, police said.

The family's landlord told police she had visited the family several times and found that they liked to keep all their windows closed in winter.

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