Taoyuan Fire Department Chief Hu Ying-ta (胡英達) has resigned to take responsibility for the deaths of two migrant workers and five firefighters in a factory fire, a spokesman for the city government said yesterday.
Hu’s resignation was approved by Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) at a meeting yesterday morning, city Department of Public Information Director Xavier Chang (張惇涵) said.
According to the fire department, 118 firefighters and 30 emergency and rescue vehicles, including five trucks equipped to fight chemical fires, continued efforts yesterday to completely extinguish the blaze that started on Saturday night at a factory owned by Chin-Poon Industrial Co (敬鵬工業), a printed circuit board company.
Five firefighters and two Thai migrant workers died in the fire, while six other firefighters were injured, one of whom was in critical condition as of Sunday night.
Because flammable chemicals were stored at the plant, firefighters were instructed not to enter the building, the fire department said, urging members of the public to stay away from the area.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has instructed the Ministry of the Interior to conduct a review of fire safety rules.
Tsai yesterday paid her respects to the victims of the fire and extended condolences to the families at a funeral home in the city, before heading to a hospital to visit two firefighters injured in the blaze.
The city’s Department of Environmental Protection plans to ask the company to suspend operations and fine it for causing air and water pollution in the wake of the fire, Cheng said, adding that the factory contained many types of chemicals, including highly flammable and explosive materials, making firefighting at the site a challenge.
The factory also had occupational safety shortcomings that had been found during inspections of the company’s facilities last year and in February, Cheng said.
The city’s Department of Labor has fined the factory several times over the past three years for breaching the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (職業安全衛生法), he said.
The city’s labor department would investigate further to determine whether the fire was caused by breaches of the two laws, Cheng added.
According to Ministry of Labor data, the company has been fined 10 times since last year, including six times for contravening the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
The breaches have included not installing locks to chemical pipeline valves and failing to install electricity leakage breakers on high-pressure cleaning machines, the data showed.
Control Yuan member Kao Feng-hsien (高鳳仙) yesterday launched an investigation into the fire.
Among the problems faced by firefighters at the scene was the company’s inability to provide timely information as to the locations of people trapped in the factory, as well as floor plans showing the factory’s layout, National Fire Agency Deputy Director Chiang Chi-jen (江濟人) said.
The Ministry of the Interior has directed the agency to make information such as amounts of toxic chemicals and the locations of facilities that house hazardous chemicals available to firefighters and to include self-protection techniques in rescue and firefighting training programs, Minister of the Interior Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮) said.
TECH PROGRAM: A US official said that an important part of the delegation’s trip would be to meet with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co executives The US is to send officials in charge of chip development to Taiwan, Japan and South Korea to promote cooperation in the global semiconductor supply chain, the US Department of Commerce said on Tuesday. Chips Program Office Director Michael Schmidt announced the visit, which marks the first time officials from the office are to visit the three nations since it was set up in September last year. “As semiconductors and technologies continue to evolve, the United States will keep working with allies and partners to develop coordinated strategies to ensure that malign actors cannot use the latest technologies to undermine our collective
Seven senior faculty members, including the principal, of a high school in Taichung were temporarily suspended from their jobs on Friday, pending an investigation by the Taichung Education Bureau into alleged bullying and abuse that led to the suicide of a student last month. The city’s education officials were too slow to suspend those involved, the student’s father told a news conference on Wednesday, at which Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chang Liao Wan-chien (張廖萬堅) and members of the Humanistic Education Foundation were also present. The boy had been a good student and a high achiever during elementary and junior-high, and had
Taiwan does not exclude the possibility of having formal diplomatic relations with counties that also have formal ties with China, regardless of Beijing’s stance, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said on Sunday. There was speculation in 2012 that Honduras was attempting to have simultaneous diplomatic relations with Taiwan and China, an idea that then-minister of foreign affairs David Lin (林永樂) rejected. Honduras severed formal ties with Taiwan on Sunday morning after establishing diplomatic relations with Beijing. President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration has taken a more practical approach to relations with like-minded countries since assuming government in 2016. Previous administrations took the
ORIGIN UNKNOWN: The Leofoo Village Theme Park and Taipei Zoo have accounted for their baboons, as authorities continue a 12-day capture attempt Authorities in Taoyuan are searching for a non-native baboon, possibly of the chacma species, that has been spotted several times in the city’s Pingjhen District (平鎮) over the past 12 days, and was most recently seen in coastal Sinwu District (新屋). The baboon was first spotted near a local factory on March 10 in central Taoyuan, Jhensing Borough Warden Huang Chih-chieh (黃志杰) said. Huang said he requested the Leofoo Village Theme Park’s help after a second sighting on Saturday. In other sightings, the baboon raided fruit and vegetable gardens on private property, and has evaded one capture attempt via a tranquilizer dart. Media reported