[QODLink]
Asia-pacific

Taiwan city rocked by deadly gas explosions

Emergency services say at least 25 people killed, including four firefighters, and hundreds injured in Kaohsiung.

Last updated: 01 Aug 2014 06:24
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Multiple gas pipeline explosions have killed 24 people and injured 257 others in Taiwan's second city, emergency officials said.

Witnesses said Thursday's blast in Kaohsiung sent flames shooting 15 storeys into the air, and entire blocks, packed with shops and apartment buildings, were set ablaze. 

Firefighters called to the neighbourhood to investigate a gas leak were among the victims when the blasts went off, upending at least five red fire trucks amid the rubble of pavement and dirt.

"Last night around midnight, the house started shaking and I thought it was a huge earthquake, but when I opened the door, I saw white smoke all over and smelled gas,'' Chen Qing-tao, who lives 10 buildings away from the main explosion site, told the Associated Press.

Taiwan's Prime Minister Jiang Yi-huah said at least five blasts shook the streets of Kaohsiung, a port city of 2.8 million.

"The local fire department received calls of gas leaks late Thursday and then there was a series of blasts around midnight affecting a area of two to three square kilometres," the National Fire Agency said in a statement.

Chang Jia-juch, the director of the Central Disaster Emergency Operation Centre, said the leaking gas had been identified as propene, meaning that the resulting fires could not be extinguished by water. The source of the leak was unknown.

Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu said several petrochemical companies have pipelines built along the sewage system in Cianjhen, which has both factories and residential buildings.

Power was cut off in the area, making it difficult for firefighters to search for people who might be buried in rubble.

The Central Disaster Emergency Operation Centre said police and soldiers had been drafted in to help firefighters. 

Emergency shelters were set up to house about 150 affected residents.

284

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Chinese scientists are designing a particle-smashing collider so massive it could encircle a city.
Critics say the government is going full-steam ahead on economic recovery at the expense of human rights.
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
President Poroshenko arrives in Washington on Thursday with money and military aid on his mind, analysts say.
Early players in private medicine often focused on volume over quality, turning many Chinese off for-profit care.
join our mailing list