Po­lice pre­lim­i­nar­ily rule out ar­son in Sun Moon Lake fire

The China Post - - LOCAL -

Build­ings at Ita Shao shop­ping dis­trict near Sun Moon Lake (

), Nan­tou County caught fire yesterday morn­ing, re­sult­ing in in­juries to four or five peo­ple and dam­age to sev­eral build­ings.

The fire oc­curred on Zhongzhen Road in Yuchi Town­ship, near Ita Shao Dock shop­ping dis­trict, ac­cord­ing to the Nan­tou County Fire Depart­ment. Of­fi­cials have pre­lim­i­nar­ily ruled out ar­son.

Po­lice of the Chichi Branch of Nan­tou County Po­lice Bureau stated that in the 10 min­utes be­fore the fire, only three ve­hi­cles passed through the road through the area, and only nine ve­hi­cles were seen driv­ing by in the 10 min­utes af­ter the fire, ac­cord­ing to footage caught by CCTV on the road­side and at nearby stores.

Lo­cals who fled their houses upon hear­ing the fire alarms claimed that they heard a “large num­ber of ve­hi­cles pass­ing by,” and es­ti­mated that around 20 ve­hi­cles passed by be­fore the fire. A fire broke out in a res­i­dent’s house shortly af­ter the ve­hi­cles left and fire alarms then sounded.

The dam­aged build­ings in­cluded hos­tels, ho­tels, a yacht com­pany, a tea house, a win­ery and pri­vate dwellings. A man sur­named Wu leapt from his fourth­floor res­i­dence and sus­tained cuts, and first-de­gree burns to 10 per­cent of his body. He is cur­rently un­der­go­ing treat­ment at Tungs’ Taichung Metro­Har­bor Hos­pi­tal and was not in crit­i­cal con­di­tion as of press time. The other vic­tims sus­tained from smoke in­hala­tion.

Po­lice sug­gested that the fire orig­i­nated from a car­bonized mo­tor­cy­cle en­gine parked un­der a street lamp near the yacht com­pany, which was owned by Wu. Wu pooh-poohed sug­ges­tions that it might have been a re­venge at­tack, say­ing that he had no en­e­mies.

Ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tions also led

in­juries po­lice to be­lieve the fire had been caused by a spark from a street lamp that short-cir­cuited.

In­ves­ti­ga­tions will be car­ried out to iden­tify the rea­sons for the fire. Chichi po­lice have not yet ruled out the fires be­ing caused by hu­mans or the short-cir­cuited street lamp and say they will carry out in­ter­views with wit­nesses.

Nan­tou County Fire De­part- ment re­ceived no­tice of the fire at 3:36 a.m., and de­ployed 18 ve­hi­cles and 32 fire­fight­ers and civil­ian ser­vice­men, along with a dozen vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers to com­bat the blaze, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal media sources. The fire was put out around 7 a.m. The to­tal value of prop­erty de­stroyed has been es­ti­mated at at least NT$50 mil­lion.

CNA

Shops are en­gulfed in flames in this photo pro­vided by a mem­ber of the public in Ita Shao Dock shop­ping dis­trict of Sun Moon Lake ( ) in Nan­tou County yesterday. The fire broke out in the early morn­ing, re­sult­ing in sev­eral build­ings be­ing dam­aged. The cause of the fire was still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion as of press time.

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