The Taiwan High Court on Wednesday rejected the appeal of a man who shouted for his neighbors to jump off their building after it caught on fire, resulting in two deaths and two serious injuries.
Last year in April, the resident of an apartment complex in Jhongli City (中壢), Taoyuan County, surnamed Hsueh (薛), accidentally started a fire in his building by burning incense to ward off mosquitoes. When he realized what he had done, he panicked and yelled to his neighbors to “hurry and jump.” Although firefighters shouted to the residents to avoid jumping off the building until proper safety precautions were set up, Hsueh urged his neighbors to go ahead and jump with their bodies wrapped in blankets. In the end, four of Hsueh’s neighbors listened to his panicked shouts and jumped from their homes on the sixth floor.
In panic, Hsueh caused two of his neighbors to die and another two to seriously injure themselves in the fall, prosecutors said.
Hsueh was charged and convicted of involuntary manslaughter. The Taoyuan District Court in September sentenced him to one year and eight months in prison.
Hsueh, who said that he only shouted for his neighbors to jump because he panicked when he saw the fire and black smoke, filed an appeal against the ruling. However, appeals court judges threw out the appeal, saying that if he had not yelled for his neighbors to jump, they would still be alive and uninjured.
The ruling is final and cannot be appealed.
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