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First death of Taiwan water park blaze pronounced

By Andrew V. Pestano

TAIPEI, Taiwan, June 29 (UPI) -- A 20-year-old woman who suffered 90 percent burns on her body from the fire that erupted at a water park in Taiwan has died -- the first fatality of the incident.

Lee Pei-yun was pronounced dead on Monday after her mother agreed to stop treatment.

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Taiwan's Central News Agency reports the total number of injured as 498 people, with 202 in critical condition. The majority of injured, 485, are Taiwanese. The remaining injured include residents of Hong Kong, China, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia.

More than 4,000 people gathered at Formosa Fun Coast water park for "Color Play Asia." A colored powder was released into the crowd and apparently exploded midair. Most victims suffered severe burns or inhaled large amounts of carbon dust from the colored powder.

The company that provided the color powder said it previously warned organizers that it was "flammable under high temperatures, especially when its density is high."

The company added that there are warnings printed on the bags of the color powder, warning of flammability, urging users to wear goggles and stating it should not be used in closed spaces.

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Investigators suspect the fire was triggered by cigarettes or heat from stage lighting.

Color Play Asia Lu owner Chung-chi, 41, hardware equipment technician Chiu Po-ming, 33, and special effects worker Liao Chun-ming, 39, are under investigation for possible charges of offences against public safety and negligence causing severe injuries.

They face five years imprisonment from those charges now that a victim has died.

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