Thu, Mar 17, 2016 - Page 5 News List

Man set house on fire trying to burn ants with cigarette

NOT EXTINGUISHED:Police said the cigarette the man was using to kill ants was likely not put out properly, which led to a sofa bed catching fire

By Cheng Shu-ting and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

An indictment issued by the Taoyuan District Prosecutors’ Office said a man allegedly set his house on fire after attempting to burn ants using a lit cigarette.

An investigation by the prosecutors’ office found that the 37-year-old man, surnamed Lin (林), was the owner of a house that burned down in Taoyuan’s Lujhu District (蘆竹) late last year.

Lin had been watching television on the second floor in the house in December last year and was lying on a sofa bed, the indictment said, quoting Lin as saying that he saw ants crawl onto the bed and wanted to burn them using his cigarette.

The police said that the cigarette was probably not extinguished completely and caused the sofa bed to catch fire, adding that Lin had not noticed the sofa bed burning.

By the time Lin was aware of the fire, he tried to put it out unsuccessfully, the prosecutors’ office said, adding that Lin and his family ran out of the house unharmed, but all furniture and electrical devices within the house were damaged by the fire.

The prosecutors’ office charged Lin with violating Item 3, Article 175 of the Criminal Code, but said that as the fire was an accident and it had not caused severe destruction or affected neighbors, the office was asking for a summary judgement.

The prosecutors’ office requested the court sentence Lin to detention or a fine of less than NT$300 in addition to the cost of refurnishing the house.

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