Patient sentenced to death for fatal Tainan hospital fire

AFP, TAIPEI

Fri, Mar 15, 2013 - Page 3

A cancer patient who last year started a fire at the Beimen Sinying branch of Tainan Hospital — which killed 13 people and injured 60 others — because he was upset by his illness has been sentenced to death, a court said yesterday.

“The court decided to impose the death sentence on Lin Chi-hsiung (林基雄) because of the large number of casualties and because he showed no remorse,” a spokeswoman for the Greater Tainan District Court said.

Lin, 68, a patient at the hospital’s nursing facility in Greater Tainan, was found guilty of triggering the fire in October last year by lighting tissue paper and throwing it into a storage room full of clothes.

He was arrested hours after the incident and has said he started the blaze because he was upset about suffering from cancer and other chronic illnesses.

The fire broke out before dawn at the nursing facility, whose 115 patients included people in their 90s, with several left on their own to escape.

Closed-circuit TV footage taken moments after the blaze broke out showed hospital staff scrambling to put out the fire, while some elderly patients struggled to escape in their wheelchairs.

The government has ordered hundreds of hospitals and nursing homes across the nation to complete fire safety checks and enhance fire drills in the wake of the incident.