Taiwan to ban use of fire torches at bars after blaze


TAIPEI — The government intends to prohibit the use of fire torches and other open flame devices and sparklers in “entertainment venues,” Interior Minister Jiang Yi-huah said yesterday, following a deadly bar blaze in central Taiwan over the weekend.

Jiang said the government will also forbid the use of torches at wedding performances in restaurants, but candles and hot pot-related equipment will still be allowed.

He did not indicate when the ban would take effect.

The announcement came in the wake of a fire at a Taichung nightclub early Sunday morning that left nine people dead. The accident was caused by a fire-juggling act that went awry.

Following the blaze, the families of the victims and news media blamed the tragedy on flawed safety inspections. The Taichung City government said the club had passed 21 safety inspections in the past five years, the most recent of which was carried out last month.

Jiang said an investigation into whether any safety inspectors were negligent in their duties would take a few more days.