Fire door at Fukuoka hospital tied open at time of deadly blaze
FUKUOKA -- All the fire doors at an orthopedic hospital consumed by flames here on Oct. 11 were open at the time of the deadly blaze, including the one on the fourth floor that was kept open with rope, it has been learned.
Ten people including eight patients at the small hospital were killed after fire broke out in the early morning hours.
The fire doors were supposed to be closed to prevent the spread of a fire through the building, but all were open including one on the fourth floor that investigative sources say was held open with rope. Investigators believe that the other doors may have been purposely kept open as well.
The fourth floor fire door, which connected a stairway with a hallway, was one that would automatically close after being opened. The stairwell was blackened with soot, and it appears that smoke from the fire on the first floor made its way to the fourth floor through the stairwell.
An assistant nurse and assistant nurse in training lived on the fourth floor, but were rescued by firefighters.
Prefectural police believe the hospital staff may have always kept the door open to allow easier access to and from the stairwell.
Meanwhile, is has further been discovered that the hospital's operator failed to make the required application to the Fukuoka Municipal Government when adding onto the building in 2010. Furthermore, city sources said that a fire door on the hospital's first floor is of a type not currently authorized by the municipal government.
At an Oct. 11 press conference, hospital director Tatsunobu Abe told reporters that the hospital administration had "lacked awareness" in its failure to apply to the city.
October 14, 2013(Mainichi Japan)