7 dead after arsonist sets fire to Buddhist commune

Seven people died and three were injured after a deliberately lit fire engulfed a building housing members of a Buddhist sect in Tainan City in the early hours of the morning today, December 14.

The Tainan City Fire Department received reports of the fire in the rural Yujing District at around 1:20am. Eleven fire appliances and 21 personnel were dispatched to the three-storey building housing 46 members of a Buddhist commune.

The fire was brought under control at around 3:15, and after firefighters entered the building, 6 burned corpses were found on the second floor. A female was also found OHCA and was declared dead after arrival at the hospital.

firefighters at the scene of a fire in Tainan City

Three injuries were reported, including two men who jumped from a second-floor window, and one firefighter who broke his arm after falling from the second floor while clearing debris.

At around 2:00am, a 21-year-old man called police to turn himself in, claiming the he had started the fire. The man said that he had purchased two 5 liter containers of gasoline to start the blaze.

According to reports including China Times, the suspect, named Zeng, had a history of mental illness and run-ins with the law. Zeng had lived in the commune for more than one year, but had been kicked out due to his perverse behavior and conflict with others.

Suspected arsonist
Suspected arsonist who turned himself in, claiming that he had started the fire using gasoline and toilet paper.
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