Blaze at Taiwan Defense HQ kills 2, injures 4

Blaze at Taiwan Defense HQ kills 2, injures 4

TAIPEI, Taiwan - A late night fire at the Ministry of National Defence's (MND) headquarters on Thursday night in Taipei killed one soldier and a civilian and injured another four, the MND said yesterday.

An explosion took place at 9:23 p.m. Thursday night at MND headquarters' Chung Ai Building in downtown Taipei. Four civilian mechanics were refilling Freon in the air conditioning facilities in the basement level of the building, General Ho An-chi (何安繼) of the MND Said at a press conference yesterday.

The explosion and subsequent fire seriously injured the four mechanics and two military personnel who were in the building when the incident took place.

The injured people were immediately sent to nearby hospitals for emergency medical treatment.

Sergeant First Class Lin Feng-chun, who was supervising the maintenance work at the scene when the incident took place, and a civilian mechanic, surnamed Lin, were later pronounced dead, Ho said.

The conditions of other four injured have been stabilized and they remained hospitalized.

The fire was extinguished by firefighters at 10:10 p.m. on Thursday night.

On behalf of the MND, Ho expressed regret over the loss of life, adding that the military has promised to compensate the families and will cooperate with Taipei City labour authorities in determining the cause of the tragedy.

Meanwhile, Taipei City fire investigators have been trying to determine the cause of the explosion and blaze.

An initial probe launched by the Taipei City Fire Department showed that an air conditioner compressor malfunction could be the cause of the deadly fire.

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