A fire broke out at 2:42 yesterday afternoon and spread through the bars surrounding Red House (西門紅樓) in Ximending, UDN reported. 39 firefighters were called to fight the blaze that destroyed four bars and damaged others in the area.
Two foreign tourists also volunteered to help put out the fire, according to Apple Daily. One of the two men is reportedly a firefighter from the US. The other is from Hong Kong, though not a firefighter.
Fortunately, no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The area around Red House is home to Taipei’s oldest gay bars and is the center of the city’s LGBT community. Taipei is considered a beacon for Asia’s LGBT community, and hosts Asia’s largest gay pride event annually. This year’s Taipei Pride will be held on October 29th.
Update: A 58-year-old man has been arrested and admitted to committing arson, Apple Daily reported. The homeless man has a prior conviction for arson and was recently released from prison. He reportedly moved to Taipei after his release in search of work.