Family rescued after teen locks them in and sets apartment on fire

Firefighters in New Taipei City used a ladder truck to rescue a family of four from a balcony, after they were locked in a burning apartment by a sixteen year old unhappy about being restricted from playing online games and watching TV this morning, September 27.

Firefighters in Sanxia District responded to reports of a fire in a 14-storey building on Xuecheng Road at around 3:00 am.

Four people were found trapped on the balcony of their burning 6th floor apartment. Firefighters deployed a ladder truck to rescue the 47-year-old man named Ko, his 47-year-old wife, and two sons aged 12 and 14.

After rescuing the four people, firefighters fought the blaze and entered the apartment in a desperate search for the family’s missing 16-year-old son. However, the boy was not found in the apartment.

The family told firefighters that they had woken to their home ablaze, but couldn’t exit through the front door, as it had been locked from outside with the key stuck in the lock.

An investigation using security monitors found that the Ko’s eldest son had left the building at 3:02 am. Police located the 16-year-old at a convenience store near Yingge Railway Station at around 8:00 am. The teen confessed that he had set up candles in several locations in the apartment before locking the door and leaving.

As for the motive for the arson, the teenager said that he had argued with his parents about playing phone games and watching TV. After completing statements, the teen was handed over to the Prosecutor’s Office to by charged under the Juvenile Incident Handling Law for public endangerment and attempted homicide.

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