NEW TAIPEI CITY, Taiwan — An early morning fire raged through a hospital floor filled with elderly patients Monday morning in Taiwan’s largest city, killing at least nine people and injuring dozens more.
The fire broke out around 4:30 a.m. in a room for patients with chronic or long-term illnesses at the government-run Taipei Hospital in New Taipei City. Within an hour, firefighters had extinguished the blaze. But nine people died, while at least 26 others were taken to other hospitals, said Kolas Yotaka, a spokeswoman for Taiwan’s Parliament.
“The cause of the fire is still being investigated,” she added.
There were 32 patients on the floor when the fire broke out, according to a hospital statement.
While the rescue efforts seemed to go smoothly, some officials raised concerns about how the fire was able to spread so quickly in such an environment.
Ko Wen-je, the mayor of Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, said he “finds it quite odd” that such a fire was capable of breaking out in the hospital, given that normal hospital design should prevent such blazes. Mr. Ko is also a surgeon.