A blaze started in the palliative care facility on the seventh floor of the nine-story Taipei Hospital in New Taipei City, Taiwan. Photo: Google Maps

Indonesian caregivers were praised for their brave and timely rescue efforts during a fire at a palliative care facility in New Taipei City, Taiwan, that claimed at least nine lives and injured 16 patients early on Monday.

Indonesian maid Supraph, one of the private caregivers who stayed overnight with her employer’s bedridden 92-year-old mother at Taipei Hospital of the Ministry of Health and Welfare in New Taipei City, told the Central News Agency that it was blessing that she and her compatriots had managed to save their elderly charges from harm.

Supraph’s employer expressed tearful gratitude after learning that her mother was unharmed thanks to the caregiver’s bravery.

“My mother would not have survived the fire had it not been for Supraph,” the woman said, adding that she had been a very good helper and looked after her mother very well since being hired in January.

The maid recalled that every day at around 3am it was the routine for staff at the palliative care hospice – usually two – and migrant carers like herself to assist in the changing of the elderly patients’ diapers.

Supraph said that while she had difficulties falling asleep as usual, she heard some noises coming from the next ward, where one of the beds was engulfed in fire at around 4:30am.

Supraph and seven other Indonesian maids were alarmed and quickly turned to the patients and carried them downstairs from the seventh floor of the nine-story facility.

Preliminary investigation by the New Taipei Fire Department suggested that faulty wiring in an air mattress most likely triggered the blaze, which then spread quickly because the hospital mattresses were flammable.

Smoke inhalation was identified as the cause of death for the nine patients who died.