Taiwan hospital fire kills 12 people, injures dozens more

Wang Ho-shou, 94 is cared for by a member of her family at a local hospital following a fire at a nursing home in Tainan, southern Taiwan, on October 23, 2012.

A blaze tore through a hospital for bedridden seniors and mentally ill patients in southern Taiwan in the early hours of Tuesday morning, killing a dozen people and injuring 60 others, the Agence France-Presse reported.

The BBC said police have arrested a resident of the nursing home facility in Tainan city who is suspected of starting the blaze - the worst hospital fire on the island in years.

The 12 patients died of smoke inhalation, the Associated Press reported, citing hospital official Tsai Ming-shih. Many of the patients in the nursing home, which was located on the second floor of the hospital, were bedridden and would have been too frail to escape the fire.

"My mother saw the fire and smelled the smoke so she got on her wheelchair and pushed herself out. She is very brave and very lucky," the daughter of 94-year-old survivor Wang Ho-shou told AFP.

The BBC reported that another person who escaped the blaze told local television: "It was pitch black and the heavy smoke was unbearable, it's really horrifying."

The Associated Press reported that hospital security video broadcast on local television showed "nurses working frantically to save patients, wheeling their beds into nearby corridors and performing CPR on stricken victims."

The injured were later taken to nearby hospitals for treatment.

Today is Taiwan's "Day for the Elderly," the AP noted.

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