Gas explosions: It rained concrete in Taiwan city

The source of the tragedy, that killed 24 people, was a propene gas leak which cannot be put out with water

Kaohsiung (Taiwan) : At least 24 people were killed and 271 others injured when several underground gas explosions ripped through Taiwan’s second-largest city overnight, hurling concrete through the air and blasting long trenches in the streets, authorities said on Friday, reports AP.

The series of explosions about midnight on Thursday and early Friday struck a district where several petrochemical plans operate pipelines alongside the sewer system in Kaohsiung, a southwestern port with 2.8 million people.

The fires were believed caused by a leak of propene, a petrochemical material not intended for public use, but the source of the gas was not immediately clear, officials said.

Video from the TVBS broadcaster showed residents searching for victims in shattered storefronts and rescuers pulling injured people from the rubble of a road and placing them on stretchers while passersby helped other victims on a sidewalk.

Broadcaster ETTV showed rows of large fires sending smoke into the night sky. Four firefighters were among the 24 dead and 271 people were injured, the National Fire Agency said. The firefighters had been at the scene investigating reports of a gas leak when the explosions occurred, Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported.

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