TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A firefighter and an Indonesian migrant worker were among the four who perished in a fire in an epidemic prevention hotel in Changhua City on Wednesday evening (June 30).
At 7:52 p.m. on Wednesday, a fire broke out in the Qiaoyou Building (喬友大樓) of Changhua City, resulting in four deaths, including a firefighter, as well as 20 injured. According to the city's fire department, the rapid rise of dense smoke and the narrow spaces inside hindered rescuers.
According to the Changhua County Government, the fire broke out on the second floor of the 15-story building, part of which had been converted into the Passion Fruit Hotel, a quarantine hotel. At the start of the blaze, a total of 29 quarantine guests and two employees were reportedly on the seventh, eighth, and ninth floors, reported CNA.
The Changhua County Fire Department dispatched 58 vehicles (including three ladder trucks), 14 ambulances, and 166 firefighters to the scene. At 3:50 a.m., the 29 guests and two employees had been extracted from the building, eight hours after the fire started.
However, four people, including a firefighter, suffered out-of-hospital cardiac arrests and were later declared dead. The 20 injured people, including another firefighter, were sent to nearby hospitals.
The fire department pointed out that due to the rapid spread of the fire from the second to the third and fourth floors, thick, acrid black smoke rose upwards, filling the floors above the fifth floor and causing them to become extremely hot.
Even with the use of high ladder trucks, the firefighters struggled to enter the affected upper floors, hampering rescue efforts. In addition, due to the confined spaces of the building and a power outage at night, the interior was pitch black, making search-and-rescue efforts even more difficult.
The deceased firefighter was identified as 33-year-old Chen Chih-fan (陳志帆), an unmarried native of Changhua City who had been serving as a firefighter there since 2016. The firefighter who was injured is in stable condition and undergoing treatment at a local hospital.
The other three who died in the fire include male residents surnamed Chen (陳) and Ni (倪) and a female foreign migrant worker. The latter was an Indonesian caregiver who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 but was undergoing self-health management and preparing to return to her residence, reported UDN.