12 killed and more than 60 injured in a hospital blaze in Taiwan. Photo credit to radioaustralia.net.au

Taiwan – A fire blow up through a hospital full of bedridden senior citizens and mentally ill patients in southern Taiwan, killing a dozen people and injuring 60 other patients.

According to a local health official, the fire started in the early morning, more than 100 patients were evacuated during the incident.

Apparently, the cause of all the deaths was believed to be smoke inhalation while the injured were rushed to a dozen nearby hospitals for treatment.

The local health officials added that it was the worst hospital fire in recent years and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

One fire official stated that the fire possibly started in a storage room on the second floor of the 5-storey building, part of the public Sinying Hospital.

Officials said that there were 30 fire engines present to diminish the scorching fire, which was extinguished by 04:16 local time (20:16 GMT), just over 45 minutes after it was reported. Firefighters arrived at the scene 10 minutes after the fire broke out, but because of the large number of patients nearby residents had to pitch in to help transport some of them to other hospitals.

Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-te stated that the hospital’s remote location and the fact that most of the patients were unable to move on their own made the situation worse. Everyone helped and did their best to save the lives of the people who were trapped inside the blazing hospital. Hospital security videos broadcast on television news shows that most of the nurse working frantically to save patients, wheeling their beds into nearby corridors and performing CPR on stricken victims.

Health minister Chiu Wen-ta assured the public that the authorities will identify the patients as soon as possible so that the relatives of the patients will be informed soon.

Relatives of the patients rushed to the hospital looking their whereabouts as,
Premier Sean Chen released a statement that he had sent condolences to the victims’ families.