City government rejects resignation of Taipei Fire Department head

CNA file photo

TAIPEI (CNA) — The Taipei Fire Department head who offered his resignation Tuesday to take responsibility for a deadly fire at a popular karaoke outlet in the city late last month has been retained but given a demerit, Deputy Mayor Huang Shan-shan (黃珊珊) said Thursday.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) decided that while lax oversight on the part of Fire Department Commissioner Wu Chun-hong (吳俊鴻), a political appointee, should be blamed for the accident, he has also contributed greatly to improvements in fire fighting, according to Huang.

Ko hopes that retaining Wu as the fire department head will help the city improve fire inspection systems as well as response and rescue operations, thereby preventing similar incidents in the future, Huang added.

The fire broke out at the Cashbox Partyworld KTV branch on Linsen North Road April 26, claiming the lives of six people and leaving dozens hospitalized.

Ko admitted last Wednesday that a lack of oversight by the city government contributed to the deadly fire and promised to conduct an internal investigation that would hold those in charge accountable for any negligence.

After an investigation, the city’s Department of Government Ethics on Thursday submitted a list of those who neglected their duties, which will now be submitted to the city’s Clean Government and Transparency Commission and its Performance Evaluation Committee to determine appropriate punishments.