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Electrical problems are leading cause of fire deaths in Taiwan

Arson accounted for over 20% of fire deaths in 2016

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Da'an District, Taipei fire station

Da'an District, Taipei fire station (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The number of fire deaths increased last year, with most of the deaths in fires caused by electrical fires, according to official data published by the National Fire Agency of the Ministry of the Interior (NFA).

There were also 1,856 total fires in Taiwan in the year, up from 1,704 in 2015 and the highest number in five years, the NFA stated. Three hundred fifteen of the fires in 2016 started in the bedroom.

The NFA recorded 169 total fire deaths in Taiwan in 2016, up from 117 in the previous year, with the majority of victims being male. The statistics note that July saw the highest number of fire-related deaths with 30, while October to March recording higher than average numbers. Spring had the lowest number of fires in the year.

The hours been 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. accounted for 15 percent of fires, the highest rate for any three-hour period. 14.7 percent of fires were reported between 3 a.m. and 6 p.m. In the previous four year period, fires were more common between 9 a.m. and noon, according to NFA data.

There were 49 deaths in 608 cases caused by electrical fires in the country last year, accounting for 29 percent of the total. Arson accounted for 20.7 percent of fire-related deaths in 278 fires last year, following by accidental fires caused by candles or cigarettes with 10.1 percent. The majority of victims were over the age of 50.

The NFA recorded ten deaths in restaurant fires in 2016.

Property damage due to fires totaled more than NT$458.5 million, a decrease of 13.6 percent from 2015.

The agency said that is implementing fire safety improvement measures around Taiwan, including promoting residential fire prevention and enhancing its rescue capabilities.