Police seek suspected arsonist after fire in Taipei City sees 4 injured, 500 people evacuated

Taipei City police are attempting to identify a man suspected of arson after a fire engulfed four ground floor businesses in a 12-storey mixed commercial and residential building in Taipei City this morning, December 7.

According to reports, around 500 people were evacuated, 134 were rescued by firefighters, and four people were treated in hospital after a fire broke out on Linsen North Road at around 8:45am.

Taipei City Fire Department dispatched 35 fire appliances, 7 ambulances, and 107 firefighters to the scene of the fire. The fire was brought under control and extinguished in around 30 minutes.

Police investigations began after witnesses reported seeing a man wearing a raincoat, motorcycle helmet, and surgical mask entering a Buddhist shrine carrying a container, then running away after a smashing sound followed by fire and smoke.

suspected arsonist seen running from the scene of the crime
suspected arsonist seen on CCTV footage running away from the scene of the crime.

The fire quickly intensified inside the Temple of the Four-faced Buddha, fueled by large amounts of ‘spirit money’ and other flammable materials, then spread to neighboring shops, including a furniture store and a pharmacist.

Scooters parked on the sidewalk were also consumed by the blaze.

One fortunate resident was awoken by his rabbit, and expressed his gratitude for his pet’s alertness, according to China Times.

A resident of the building was woken up by his rabbit and found the building he resided in was on fire. Picture: China Times.
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