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6 firefighters killed in bowling alley roof collapse in Taiwan

TAIPEI — After rescuing two victims, six firefighters were killed early this morning (Jan 20) in a bowling alley fire when a roof collapsed on them after metal supports gave way. All the firefighters were in their 20s.

A screen capture from Central News Agency's coverage of the aftermath of the fire in Taoyuan at killed 6 firemen. Photo: Central News Agency

A screen capture from Central News Agency's coverage of the aftermath of the fire in Taoyuan at killed 6 firemen. Photo: Central News Agency

TAIPEI — After rescuing two victims, six firefighters were killed early this morning (Jan 20) in a bowling alley fire when a roof collapsed on them after metal supports gave way. All the firefighters were in their 20s.

The three-storey-high bowling alley in Taoyuan’s coastal Xinwu district was closed when a fire broke out on the second floor at about 2am, Focus Taiwan News Channel reported. About 90 firefighters were deployed to put out the fire.

Two people, reported to be brothers, were rescued and sent to a hospital with injuries, but six firefighters were found trapped.

The Central News Agency reported that the fire originated in an electrical transformer box on the bowling alley’s second floor.

Taoyuan mayor Cheng Wen-tsan will be launching an investigation into the cause of the fire, adding that the city government will assess the structural soundness of existing buildings, and impose penalties on buildings that do not fulfill stipulated structural requirements.

In a Facebook post, the mayor said, “I, like the other witnesses, was watching the scene with an extreme sense of heaviness and remorse.”

The mayor added he has consulted the related bureaus to assist the families in compensation and handling the funeral services. He also said that a subsidy of TW$80 million (S$3.4 million) will be allocated to the firefighting department with immediate effect.

The Taipei Cabinet had also expressed their condolences over the deaths. The Ministry of Interior, which also oversees the National Fire Agency, will be asked to review their firefighting measures, including personal equipment and training to prevent similar incidents, the Cabinet announced.

Many young firefighters in Taiwan choose the work to fulfill their required year of national service as an alternative to the military.

Sources: AP, CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY, FOCUS TAIWAN NEWS CHANNEL

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