Nine people died and 15 people were injured, 11 seriously, after a fire broke out on the 7th floor of Taipei Hospital in Xinzhuang District, New Taipei City, early this morning, August 13.
According to United Daily News, the fire broke out at around 4:27am. A foreign carer alerted staff, and smoke detectors activated the fire alarm. However, the temperature was not sufficient to activate the automatic sprinkler system.
The Fire Bureau dispatched 79 vehicles and 243 personnel to the scene. Disaster relief personnel and hospital staff urgently evacuated patients. According to early reports, 14 of the patients lost vital signs and were without breathing and heartbeat. A total of 206 patients were evacuated.
The fire was brought under control and finally extinguished shortly before 5:30am.
Investigations so far point to a possible electrical short circuit causing one of the beds to catch fire in the nursing home section of the hospital, located on the 7th floor of the 9 storey building. There were 33 patients housed in the section.
Relevant authorities are investigating allegations that there was a significant delay between the time the fire started and the time it was reported to the Fire Bureau. The fire alarm was activated at 4:27, but the first 119 report was not received until 4:36, according to SETN. Video footage from the scene at the time of the incident shows staff and carers running around in apparent confusion.
Taipei Hospital is a public hospital operated by the Ministry of Health and Welfare. The hospital announced on their website that outpatient and emergency department services today are suspended.
Premier William Lai made a formal apology to patients, family, and the public on behalf the Executive Yuan, and urged the Ministry of Health and Welfare to set up a response team to properly resettle the affected patients.
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