Taipei mayor apologizes over deadly KTV fire

City government needs to re-examine fire safety management: Ko Wen-je

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Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (center)

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (center) (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) apologized on Wednesday (April 29) over the fire that broke out at a KTV parlor in the city’s bustling Zhongshan District on Sunday (April 26), claiming five lives.

Ko said at a city council briefing that the city government is responsible for the flawed fire safety inspection system, reported CNA. The incident saw a Cashbox Partyworld KTV on Linsen North Road engulfed in the blaze, during which 54 were injured and five killed.

The recreational venue had passed 20 safety inspections since 2018. In the wake of the fire, however, four of the karaoke chain’s stores in Taipei were on Monday (April 27) ordered to suspend operations after failing inspections. This suggests that loopholes exist in the city’s fire safety protocols, which require an overhaul, Ko noted.

Serious human negligence was blamed for the tragedy. A preliminary investigation found that fire alarms, smoke detectors, sprinklers, smoke exhaust systems, and internal broadcasting systems on the fifth floor, where the fire was believed to have started, had all been switched off by the time of the fire.

The blaze marks the deadliest karaoke parlor incident in the capital in 26 years. In 1994, a fire consumed a KTV in the same district, killing 13; in 1992, a fire started by arson at another Zhongshan District KTV took 16 lives.