《TAIPEI TIMES》 Blaze at illegal Taipei nursing home kills two
Firefighters tackle a blaze at a private nursing home in Taipei’s Neihu District yesterday. Photo copied by CNA
By Tsai Ya-hua, Tsai Ssu-pei and Dennis Xie / Staff reporters, with staff writer
Two men died after a blaze broke out yesterday afternoon at an unregistered private nursing facility in Taipei’s Neihu District （內湖）.
The Taipei Fire Department said that after a team broke into the house, three men were found in their beds, all of whom had burns and had inhaled smoke.
“No one else was found at the scene,” it said, adding that the fire could have been caused by overheading equipment, as burned wires were found.
A 70-year-old surnamed Chuang （莊） and a 59-year-old surnamed Liu （劉） were confirmed dead at a nearby hospital, while a 69-year-old surnamed Chen （陳） was in critical condition, police said.
The nursing home was not registered, Taipei Social Welfare Department Director-General Chou Yu-hsiu （周榆修） said, adding that an unregistered long-term care facility can be fined NT$60,000 to NT$300,000 under the Long-Term Care Services Act （長期照顧服務法）.
The owners could also be punished for negligence under the Senior Citizens Welfare Act （老人福利法）, officials said.
A nearby resident who did not want to be named said the nursing home has been operational for one to two years, and the owner never talked to her neighbors.
Department of Social Welfare officials had visited the house once, but the owner refused to allow them inside and let a dog out to scare them, the resident said.
The owner, a 58-year-old woman surnamed Ting （丁）, was reportedly monitoring the building from a nearby coffee shop when she saw the flames and fled, but was later picked up by police and taken for questioning.
Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang （黃珊珊） said that the city would reach out to the families of the victims, and would hold the owner accountable, she said.
Additional reporting by Cheng Ching-yi and Wang kuan-jen