Gas pipe blasts in Taiwan kill 30
01 August 2014
A series of gas explosions in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung killed 30 and injured 310, according to officials. The blasts rocked the city's Cianjhen district, scattering cars and blowing deep trenches in roads. The exact cause of the gas leaks is not clear, but reports say the blasts were caused by ruptured pipelines.
The national fire agency lost four firemen who were investigating the leaks when they exploded. Images of the scene showed major fires, upturned vehicles,bodies covered in debris and streets split in two.
The explosions happened late on July 31, with witnesses reporting huge fireballs soaring into the air. Taiwan's premier said there were at least five separate blasts.
"The local fire department received calls of gas leaks late Thursday and then there was a series of blasts around midnight affecting an area of two to three sq km [one sq mile]," the National Fire Agency said in a statement.
People in the area were evacuated to schools as teams battled the blazes. By the morning of August 1 most fires had been extinguished.
The exact cause of the blasts had not yet been identified but several petrochemical companies had pipelines running along the sewage system in the district. Eyewitnesses and local residents reported smelling a strong gas odour about three hours before the explosions occurred. Many of them were worried and went outside.