9 dead, 15 injured after Taiwan hospital fire

Xinhua
Nine people have died and another 15 were injured after a fire broke out in a hospital in New Taipei City, local authorities said on Monday.
Xinhua

Nine people have died and another 15 were injured after a fire broke out in a hospital in New Taipei City, local authorities said on Monday.

Of the 15 injured, 11 have severe injuries, while the rest suffered minor injuries.

Some 208 firefighters and 76 fire engines were dispatched to the scene. The fire was extinguished at 5:27am.

The fire started in a ward on the seventh floor of the Taipei Hospital around 4:30am on Monday. There were 32 patients on the floor at the time, according to a firefighter surnamed Chen.

"When we arrived flames were coming out of the ward. The rest of the wards on the floor were filled with heavy smoke," said Chen.

Medical workers helped some patients escape. Others climbed to the top floor of the nine-story building and were rescued by firefighters with cranes, he said.

The outside walls and windows, as well as the external unit of the air conditioners of the fire-engulfed ward have turned black due to the heavy smoke.

"I saw hundreds of people on the ground outside the hospital, and many of them were family members," said Liu Yu-ching, a volunteer who bought snacks for the patients, their families, and the firefighters.

"Even though the fire had been put out, the smoke in the hospital wards still smelled strong," she said, adding that she and her peers had to wear two masks when cleaning the site.

The hospital halted services for a while shortly after the fire broke out.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.


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