The building that housed a hotel used for COVID-19 quarantine until four people died in a fire after being told to stay put in their rooms will be demolished by the end of the year, the Changhua County Government announced yesterday, February 15.
In June 2021, a fire broke out in the empty bottom floors of the building, leading to the death of three quarantined hotel “guests,” and a firefighter who went to their assistance after hotel managers told them to stay put in their rooms. A further 22 people were injured.
See previous story: Four dead including one firefighter in COVID quarantine hotel fire
The hotel was deemed a dangerous building following the fire, and the owner was ordered to demolish it. However, since the owner did not proceed with the demolition within the time limit, the Changhua County Government took over and opened a tender procedure for contractors to carry out the demolition.
As of yesterday, February 15, only one bid had been made to carry out the demolition, and it is expected to be accepted at a meeting scheduled for February 21 in the hope that the demolition will proceed before the end of this year.
The former landmark 15 storey building was completed in 1993, and stands in a prime location across from the main railway station in Changhua City. However, the building’s fortunes declined over the years, and it lay mostly empty, with the budget “Passionfruit Business Hotel” residing on the 7th to 9th floors until the fateful fire.
The hotel operator and two staff were indicted on charges of negligent homicide, and negligent injury for their actions during the fire disaster, which included telling the quarantined inmates to go back to their rooms and close the doors while smoke billowed up through open fire escape doors.
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