TAIPEI (The China Post) — Fire engulfed a sheet-metal factory in Taichung City around 1 a.m. Wednesday, resulting in the deaths of two firefighters battling the huge blaze.
The two victims, 33-year-old Hsieh Chih-hsiung and 32-year-old Chang Che-chia, were reported missing right after they arrived at the scene. The fire brigade eventually found them at around 8 a.m. and confirmed the two had died afterward.
Local media reported that the Fire Bureau of Taichung City Government received a fire alarm from the disposable tableware factory located on Zhonghe 6th Road in Daya District, Taichung City at 1:45 a.m.
The fire department immediately dispatched 26 fire engines, 87 firefighters and 28 volunteer firemen to the scene.
According to local media, the brigade first made sure no one was trapped in the factory when they arrived. However, the abundance of paper material stocked in the factory stoked the fire, and it began to spread out of control.
Hsieh and Chang entered the scene around 3 a.m. but lost contact right away. They were trapped in the warehouse on the second floor, and others were sent in to rescue them. The initial search failed, and only around 8 a.m. were they finally found, already dead.
Local media reported that the factory was not registered as a legal business, and the police department has found and questioned the people liable to clarify the incident.
Furthermore, several non-government organizations (NGOs), including the National Association for Firefighter’s Rights, said such illegal factories could be easily legalized within two years following the factory act, which was passed in June.
However, NGOs said that the lack of corresponding measures leads to negligence of illegal factories management, and could threaten the safety of firefighters.
According to the deceased, Hsieh, Chih-hsiung’s Facebook account, he had just gotten the news that he was going to become a father of twins this August, making his home a family of five.
He then wrote on Facebook: “Father’s Day this year is full of surprises! We are welcoming two little girls. The upcoming days will be challenging. Wish the two girls a safe and peaceful future.” Aug. 8 is Father’s Day in Taiwan.
By NOWnews News Desk and Carol Kan