Three tons of starch-based powder caught fire when sprayed from stage
Journal of Emergency Medical Services
Date: Jun 29, 2015
By: RALPH JENNINGS, Associated Press
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Investigators in Taiwan were focusing Monday on the possibility that a cigarette butt or spark caused the blaze that burned 498 people, killing one, at a weekend water park party when colored powder sprayed from the stage caught fire.
A 20-year-old woman with burns to 90 percent of her body died after being taken off life support with her family’s consent, said a hospital spokeswoman, who spoke anonymously because she wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.
Taiwan’s Central News Agency said her 12-year-old brother also had burns on 90 percent of his body.
Police recommended criminal charges against the organizer of Saturday’s party, as well as two technicians, at the Formosa Fun Coast park in suburban Taipei.
“It’s still not clear what happened, but there were a number of people smoking and the weather was warm,” New Taipei City news department head Lin Chieh-yu said. Temperatures around greater Taipei topped 36 degrees Celsius (96.8 F) before the party.
The three tons of colored starch-based powder bought by the organizers from Tai Won, a seller in the island’s southern county of Yunlin, were flammable, said Chou Hui-fang, a representative of the seller. She said the buyer was informed about the risk of fire.