Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and his three deputy mayors yesterday bowed and apologized to the public for ineffective fire safety inspections that failed to prevent a fire that broke out at Cashbox Partyworld KTV (錢櫃) on Taipei’s Linsen N Road on Sunday morning, leaving five dead and dozens injured.
“We are not only apologizing, we also feel ashamed,” Ko said at a meeting of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Taipei City Council caucus.
Cashbox had previously passed 20 fire safety inspections, but four of its six branches in Taipei failed an unscheduled inspection after the incident, he said.
Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times
It means that the inspection mechanism is ineffective, Ko said, adding that the city government would re-examine loopholes in the system.
Five fire protection systems in the building were found to have been turned off before the incident and four other Cashbox branches failed the city’s unscheduled fire safety inspections on Monday, officials said.
They ordered Cashbox to suspend operations and improve the situation within three days.
Three branches were each fined NT$120,000, while a branch of Party KTV (星聚點) and two movie theaters were also ordered to suspend operations after failing inspections.
Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) said that the city government would complete fire safety inspections of 70 enclosed recreational spaces in the city by tomorrow, as well as re-examine related fire safety regulations.
The Fire Services Act (消防法) only allows the Taipei Fire Department to ask venues that have failed inspections to improve the situation within a given period, but it cannot order them to suspend operations, Huang said, adding that the city was forced to invoke the Administrative Enforcement Act (行政執行法).
The city government said that it would also assemble a legal support team to assist victims of the incident and their families in negotiating compensation with Cashbox.
The Taipei Department of Legal Affairs yesterday held a meeting with Cashbox and insurance company representatives to discuss compensation.
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