|Rescuers transfer an injured person after a fire broke out at the Bei-Men branch of the Sinying Hospital in Tainan City, southeast China's Taiwan, Oct. 23, 2012. The fire broke out early Tuesday morning, killing at least 12 people and injuring 60 others, most of whom were patients. (Xinhua)|
TAINAN CITY, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- Most of the victims, including the 12 fatalities, of a big Taiwanese hospital fire that broke out early on Tuesday were patients of an independently operated medical care facility for serious illnesses or mental conditions, Xinhua has learned.
On the second floor of the Bei-Men branch of the Sinying Hospital in Taiwan City, where the fire started, signs of the tragic accident were clear on Tuesday afternoon, with charred walls and broken windows visible to a Xinhua correspondent who visited the site.
The medical care facility on the floor was operated by outsiders commissioned by the hospital. Most of its patients were in serious conditions and attached to nasogastric, urinal or respiratory tubes. Some of them had mental illnesses.
Out on the lawn in front of the hospital, charred pillows, quilts, oxygen tanks and wheelchairs were scattered around.
Chiu Wen-ta, chief of Taiwan's health authorities, told reporters that most of the patients treated at the medical care facility had respiratory conditions or could not move around freely.
He added that the deaths of 12 of the 71 people severely injured in the fire had been announced, and the others were being treated in 13 hospitals in and around the area.
Local police have cordoned off the Bei-Men Sinying Hospital and are investigating the cause of the blaze.
Firefighters were alerted at 3:29 a.m. and had put out the fire by 4:16 a.m., the Health Department of Taiwan City said earlier.