Four of the eight people killed in a fire in Hsinchu City on Wednesday night were children and the other four were adults who died while trying to rescue the children from the second floor of the burning building, the city’s Fire Bureau said yesterday.
Fire Bureau First Corps commander Chang Chih-chih (張智智) told a news conference that the fire at Zheng Yi Tire Repair Shop on Dongda Road might have been intentionally set by the owner’s son, Chen Yen-hsiang (陳彥翔), who earlier had an argument with other family members.
Chen allegedly bought gasoline and lit a fire near four motorcycles inside the shop after it closed for the night, Chang said, citing Chen’s father.
Photo: Hung Mei-hsiu, Taipei Times
The owner, who was on the first floor of the two-story building when the fire broke out, escaped the blaze, Chang said.
Chen tried to flee the scene, but was arrested, Chang said.
The four adults who died were trapped and lost consciousness due to smoke inhalation while they were trying to rescue the children from the family’s apartment, Chang said.
Emergency workers found the eight bodies on the second floor of the sheet-metal structure, Chang said.
The Hsinchu City Police Department yesterday identified the adult victims as the owner’s 56-year-old wife, his 28-year-old daughter and the wives of his two sons.
Three of the juvenile victims, who were aged seven, six and three, were Chen’s children, while the other one was his brother’s one-year-old child, the police department said.
Police suspect that the argument was about money.
Chen was detained on suspicion of arson, the department said.
Meanwhile, the Hsinchu City Government said it is providing emergency counseling services to the surviving family members and had approved compassionate funding of NT$200,000 for each person who died.
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