TAIPEI, Taiwan - A gas explosion occurred at a residential complex in Xindian District, New Taipei City yesterday, causing the death of a young boy and over 10 individuals to be hospitalized.
The New Taipei City Government Fire Department (新北市政府消防局) received a report that a fire was burning as a result of a gas explosion at 11:46 a.m. yesterday.
The explosion took place on Lane 159 of Ankang Road Section 2 and resulted in 10 injuries severe enough to require treatment at Cardinal Tien Hospital, Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital, Shuang Ho Hospital and Wan Fang Hospital. Eight other individuals were released by medical experts on the scene following examinations.
Of the many hospitalized, three individuals were reported to be in a critical condition. The three individuals are a man in his 30s surnamed Chang who was found in an elevator shaft and who had sustained burns all over his body, a 3-year-old girl and a woman in her 50s who was unconscious and sustained second-degree burns on 90 per cent of her body along with fractures to her left arm
A boy who sustained full-body burns showed no signs of life while en route to the Shuang Ho Hospital and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Reportedly, when firefighters arrived at the scene, the fire was observed to be so strong that smoke covered the building.
Witnesses at the scene told local media that during the explosion, the noise was so loud that the vibrations felt like an earthquake and shattered the windows of the building. The fire from the explosion later spread to several nearby commercial and residential buildings, according to witnesses, who stated that the scene looked like a disaster movie.
Gas Leak Reportedly Ignored by Authorities
The New Taipei City Government Fire Department stated during a report yesterday evening that the dispersion point of the gas explosion has been confirmed to be in the living room of an apartment in the building.
During his condolence visit to the scene, New Taipei City Deputy Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) was approached by residents who said the local natural gas company was to blame for the incident.
One resident reportedly told Hou that a report of a possible gas leak was filed with the manager of the building yesterday afternoon. The building manager later contacted the gas company to conduct safety checkups later in the same day.
However, gas company representatives allegedly went around the complex only searching for any strange odour, and later dismissed the potential gas leak as merely biogas being emitted from the elevator shaft.