Taiwan Formosa Water Park fire injures hundreds

A spokesman for the fire service said it was believed coloured powder being sprayed on to a crowd had ignited.

More than 80 had serious injuries, the Taipei fire department said. Some victims suffered 40% burns according to CNA news agency.

The accident happened during a “colour play” party at Formosa Water Park in New Taipei City’s Bali district.

Of the 215 people injured, 83 suffered serious burns, while 132 sustained minor burns, a fire department spokesman told the BBC.

The fire broke out around 20:30 local time (12:30 GMT), he said.

More than 1,000 people were near the stage when the blaze started.

The fire department said “our initial understanding is this explosion and fire… was caused by the powder spray. It could have been due to the heat of the lights on the stage”.

The injured were taken to nearby hospitals.

One doctor said a number had respiratory system damage.

Park shut down

Local TV stations showed people taking the injured out of the park in large inflatable play equipment.

The fire was quickly brought under control.

One witness told local TV: “It started on the left side of the stage. At the beginning I thought it was part of the special effects of the party but then I realised there was something wrong and people started screaming and running.”

Many people flocked to water parks on Saturday as temperatures reached 36.6C in Taipei and as high as 38C in other parts of Taiwan, the BBC’s Cindy Sui reports from Taipei.

New Taipei City’s mayor, Eric Chu, ordered an immediate shutdown of the water park pending an investigation.

Taiwan has suffered a series of deadly fires in the past couple of years due partly to poor enforcement of building and fire safety codes and illegal construction, our correspondent adds.

A fire earlier this year killed six firefighters, prompting orders to rectify illegally constructed buildings and upgrade firefighters’ equipment and training.

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