TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Authorities are investigating whether the parents of three children who died in a house fire on Sunday (April 18) are criminally responsible.
Taichung’s Fire Bureau received reports at 11:07 p.m. Sunday night that a fire had broken out in a house in the city’s Central District. When firefighters arrived at the scene, they found that the house in question was a two-story concrete building with a sheet metal structure that had been added to the roof, CNA reported.
Firefighters found two young girls and a boy lying on the stairs between the second and third floors with severe burns. The children were rushed to the hospital, where they were pronounced dead.
A police investigation indicated that the landlord of the house, who ran a beauty parlor out of the first floor, had divided the second and third floors into seven rooms for rent as well as an employee dormitory. According to the fire bureau’s initial investigation, the fire started on the second floor, killing the five-year-old boy, surnamed Yi (易), his three-year-old sister, and a five-year-old girl surnamed Xing (邢).
The authorities have been interviewing the victims’ families and witnesses in an effort to root out the cause and circumstances surrounding the fire.
Police have learned that Xing’s father, his girlfriend, who also lived in the house, and the mother of the Yi siblings are all employees of the beauty parlor. On the night of the fire, the children's fathers and the girlfriend of the elder Xing went out to participate in activities related to the Dajia Matsu pilgrimage.
While they were out, the three children were in the care of the Yi siblings' mother, who was on the first floor at the time of the fire, according to the authorities.
Xing's girlfriend wrote on Facebook Monday (April 21) that she missed the children, but other Facebook users left comments questioning her decision to leave the children home while she attended religious festivities. In response, she said she had gone there to work.
The authorities are looking into whether the parents are criminally responsible for the tragic deaths by leaving their children unsupervised, per CNA.