Agence France Presse
Published — Tuesday 25 December 2012
Last update 25 December 2012 3:00 pm
TAIPEI: A Taiwanese man has been indicted on murder and arson charges for allegedly starting a fire at a hospital in October that killed 13 people and injured 60 others, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Prosecutors said they ruled out seeking the death penalty for the 67-year-old, identified only by his surname Lin, due to his confession of the crime and his poor health.
Lin, also a patient at the nursing facility in southern Taiwan, was accused of lighting tissue papers and throwing them into a storage room full of clothes on October 23, which caused the fire, according to the indictment.
He was arrested hours later and has claimed he started the blaze because he was upset from suffering from cancer and other chronic illness, it said.
The fire erupted before dawn at the nursing facility in Tainan city, whose 115 patients included people in their 90s, with several left on their own to escape dense smoke that filled the building.
Closed-circuit TV footage taken moments after the blaze broke out showed hospital staff scrambling to put out the fire, while some elderly patients struggled to escape in their wheelchairs.
The government has ordered hundreds of hospitals and nursing homes across the island to complete fire safety checks and enhance fire drills in the wake of the incident.