Seven people died and three are critically injured after a fire at a food company factory in Changhua County this morning, Tuesday, April 25.
The Changhua County Fire Department received a report of a fire at the Lian Hwa Foods factory in Beidou Township at 6:45 am. The fire department dispatched 31 fire trucks, 21 ambulances, and a total of 106 personnel from fire stations in Beidou, Erlin, Xizhou, Yuanlin, and other districts.
Firefighters deployed water lines and the fire was brought under control at around 8:30 am, and completely extinguished at 9:12 am. Firefighters entered the smoke-filled factory to search for 22 missing employees. Ten of the workers were found without vital signs and were rushed to six nearby hospitals. At the time of writing, 7 have been declared dead, and three remain in a critical condition.
Of the seven deceased, four are of Taiwanese nationality and three are migrant workers from the Philippines.
According to reports, the ten workers who had lost vital signs were found in two cold rooms on the 4th floor where they had sought shelter from the smoke and fire. Another 13 people were treated for smoke-inhalation injuries.
According to witnesses, the fire started in a kitchen on the second floor of the 4-storey facility. Workers attempted to extinguish the fire but it went out of control.
The precise cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Premier Chen Chien-jen expressed condolences to the victims of the fire and their families, and requested the Ministry of Health and Welfare assist in helping the injured. Premier Chen also thanked the fire fighters, and requested that the cause of the fire be identified as soon as possible.
Lian Hwa Foods (TPE: 1231) is the maker of several well-known snack brands including Cadena potato snacks, Koloko Pea Crackers, and Viva dried fruits and nuts. The company’s stock price fluctuated this morning, dropping 3% after market opening, then recovering most of the loss as the company said that the disaster would have little impact on overall production as the company has two other factories and all losses are covered by insurance.
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