The old neighborhood of Taiyuan Road in Datong District of Taipei City. Photo: Google Maps

A 75-year-old Taiwanese woman and her 38-year-old Indonesian domestic helper were both killed when the two-story house they occupied in Taipei City burned down. The owner of the house, 77, was in a critical condition after being rescued.

Firefighters and police were alerted when a security guard in a neighboring residential building saw fire engulfing the first floor of the home in Lane 76 of Taiyuan Road, Datong District, at 4am on Saturday, the Liberty Times reported.

The century-old house, constructed from bricks, laminated wood and galvanized iron sheets, was the home of an elderly Taiwanese couple surnamed Pan, and their granddaughter. Also living there was an Indonesian called Imas, who had cared for the couple for two years.

Rescuers found the trio lying unconscious in the house and the two women were pronounced dead after being rushed to hospital. The man had to be resuscitated and was in a critical condition. Police said the granddaughter, 26, was sleeping at a friend’s home at the time.

Preliminary police investigations have found that the man had tried to rescue his wife, paralysed and bedridden after previously suffering a stroke, with the help of the maid. They were unable to get out of the house before the second-story collapsed and blocked their exit.