Memorial concert held for ALA fire victims as government acknowledges mistakes

The China Post news staff

The China Post news staff–Families and friends gathered yesterday at a concert held in memory of two musicians who died in the deadly nightclub fire in Taichung, according to local media.

Chi Wei-tao (亓瑋韜) and Hsieh Chia-chang (謝佳璋), both members of the same band, died in the ALA pub fire that killed nine and left 12 injured on March 6.

Parents of the two victims asked the remaining members of the band to organize a memorial concert, as the two were music lovers. The parents hoped the concert would honor the boys as they “embarked on their final journey.” Chi’s father choked up as he said “My son loved music, but he died before he had a chance to realize his dreams.” Chi, a guitar player, was a junior in college. Hsieh, an insurance agent by day, taught drums during his spare time as it was his biggest passion, said Hsieh’s father. He hopes officials can get to the bottom of the accident as soon as possible. The band also composed the song “Memories of a lifetime” in memory of the two victims. All eyes were red as the band performed the melancholy melody.

Huang Chong-dian (黃崇典), head of Taichung City’s Urban Development Department, admitted yesterday that there were problems with the safety inspection. However, he has not found any collusion between government officials and businesses.

According to records, the nightclub had passed 21 safety inspections over the past five years despite having a flammable foam ceiling and walls and a difficult-to-access emergency exit. The victims’ families suspected possible corruption between officials and the nightclub owners. Huang admitted there were definitely faults in the administration’s safety inspection, but he has not discovered any illegal collaboration between government and businesses, local media reported.

The whole matter needed further scrutiny, but heavy punishment would be carried out if any illicit activity was found, said Huang. Huang orally resigned his post as the urban development chief last week, but his resignation has yet to be approved by Taichung City mayor Jason Hu.