Awarded school principal killed in New Taipei fire along with 2 others

10/21/2019 03:45 PM
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Photo courtesy of the MOE
Photo courtesy of the MOE

Taipei, Oct. 21 (CNA) An early morning fire at a building in New Taipei Monday killed three people, including an awarded elementary school principal, and left another person injured, according to the city's fire department.

The fire broke out at around 1 a.m. in the four-story building in the city's Yingge District.

Firefighters rushed to the scene soon after they were informed of the blaze. However, by the time of their arrival, the fire had already gutted the house, and rescuers were told that four people were still in the building, according to the department.

It took around an hour before the fire was extinguished and rescuers found three people without vital signs in the building.

They are 50-year-old Tseng Chun-kai (曾俊凱), the owner of the building and principal of Fengming Elementary School in Yingge; his wife Huang Wen-yu (黃玟瑜), also aged 50, a music teacher at another school in Yingge; and Tseng's nephew, surnamed Chiu (邱).

The three were later pronounced dead in hospital, the department said.

Tseng's 21-year-old niece is the sole survivor of the blaze who was saved after jumping from the third floor to escape, suffering minor bone fractures, it noted.

The cause of the blaze had not yet been determined but a preliminary investigation suggested the fire was electrical, it added.

Hung Liang-chien (洪良建), a fire investigator of the department, told the press that none of the doors in the building were closed during the blaze, which allowed smoke and fire to easily and promptly spread.

Also, low visibility due to a blackout caused by the fire was another reason for the casualties, he added.

According to the New Taipei City government, Tseng had served as principal of three different elementary schools in the city and been a teacher for more than three decades.

Earlier this year he was honored with an outstanding leadership award by the city for his performance and devotion in the post.

New Taipei Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) expressed his condolences over the tragedy to Tseng's family.

(By Huang Shu-sheng and Joseph Yeh)


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