TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- After a fire broke out at China Culture University (CCU) in Taipei, firefighters rescued 16 people, two of whom are in critical condition reported CNA.
A total of nine men and seven women were rescued after a fire broke out in Da Dian Building of CCU yesterday evening. Two seriously injured female students had no vital signs when rescued by firefighters, and were rushed to hospital for emergency treatment.
At 5:01 p.m., the Taipei Fire Department received a report that that a fire had broken out in the Da Dian Building at CCU, and swiftly dispatched 36 vehicles and 99 personnel to the university. When firefighters arrived on the scene, they saw flames and smoke billowing out of the building.
Fourteen students had fled to the balcony on the sixth floor, and two women sought refuge in the men's restroom on that floor. Firefighters used a ladder to rescue eight students, while six more were escorted down the stairs.
All trapped students were rescued by 6:15 p.m., and the fire was extinguished by 6:22 p.m. The two women who had become trapped in the men's restroom had lost consciousness from smoke inhalation.
One of the women, a 22-year-old student surnamed Lee (李), was not breathing, had no pulse, and was covered in black soot from the smoke when firefighters found her. After she was rushed to Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital for emergency treatment, her vital signs were restored, but her condition is still unstable.
Lee is currently still in a coma. Doctors say that she has suffered respiratory tract burns and has been sent to the intensive care unit for treatment.
The other critically injured female student, has been identified as a 23-year-old fourth year student from the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture surnamed Chen (陳). Before she arrived at the hospital, paramedics had already been able to restore her vital signs and she regained consciousness.
Due to injuries sustained from smoke inhalation, Chen has been intubated and transferred to the burn ward for additional treatment.
CCU said that the 16 people trapped in Da Dian Building during the fire included one assistant, two research assistants, and 13 students. The two critically injured female students were both from the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, according to university officials.
A male student told the media that he and his classmates heard the fire alarm and went to the balcony to wait to be rescued. Another male student hugged his classmates as soon as he was rescued and said that the faces of many of those rescued were covered in black soot from the blaze.
According to an initial investigation by the school, two of the injured persons were making models and drawings in a classroom on the fifth floor at the time the blaze began. It is suspected that they accidentally caused a fire when they used a power tool to cut the models.
The exact cause of the fire has yet to be determined and is currently under investigation.
According to the students of the Department of Architecture at the school, they have seen plans of the Da Dian Building before and found that the seventh and eighth floors were illegal add-ons, but were still able to pass safety inspections. They blamed the school for not attaching importance to students' safety.
A spokesman for the Taipei City Construction Management Office told CNA last night that a preliminary investigation found that the registration for the license to use the building did not include eight floors. They suspect that the seventh and eight floors were illegally added later.