TAICHUNG (CNA) — A suspect who was caught setting a shop on fire at a Taichung night market, causing a blaze that spread to nearby buildings, was arrested at the scene by police early Thursday.
Three victims were rushed to a local hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation following the incident that took place in the city’s Zhonghua Night Market, according to local authorities.
The suspect, surnamed Lin (林), did not appear drunk, nor did he have any prior criminal record, police said, noting, however, that the man was restless and agitated during questioning.
The Taichung Police Department’s First Precinct told reporters that the man said only that he was in a foul mood and was unwilling to disclose his full intent behind the arson.
The investigation was still ongoing as of press time.
Shopkeepers who were closing up for the day reported seeing Lin loitering around the scene of the crime at around 3 a.m. and immediately notified the police.
They also witnessed him turning on a gas bottle that had been left outside a steak shop at the night market.
According to officers Shih Ya-han (施雅涵) and Chen Kuan-yu (陳冠諭), Lin was about to flee after they saw him lighting a fire.
Nearly 100 firefighters were dispatched to extinguish the fire that quickly spread to nearby shops and apartment buildings.
No fatalities were reported.
The Taichung Hospital said the three victims were a family of three — a 63-year old grandfather and his two grandchildren, aged 19 and 20.
The two younger patients have since been released from hospital, while the grandfather is still undergoing hyperbaric oxygen treatment, the hospital said.