LCY Chemical made mistakes ahead of explosion: Kaohsiung official
Central News Agency
2014-08-02 08:11 PM
Taipei, Aug. 2 (CNA) The deadly explosions that rocked Kaohsiung Thursday were linked to several mistakes on the part of LCY Chemical Corp. in handling a gas leak in its piping system, Kaohsiung's top environmental official said Saturday. A sudden pressure decrease indicating a leak occurred at 8:43 p.m. Thursday night in a pipeline used by LCY to obtain propylene from its supplier, China General Terminal & Distribution Corporation (CGTD), according to Chen Chin-der, chief of the city's Environmental Protection Bureau. Although CGTD turned off the pipe system at 9:30 p.m. after detecting the abnormal sign, it reopened it at 10:10 p.m. at the request of LCY, Chen said. CGTD only shut down the system again at 11:35 p.m. after receiving a report of a propylene leak in the city's Cianjhen District, Chen said. He pointed to failing to examine if the pressure decrease in the pipeline was caused by a leak as one of many mistakes made by the company before the explosions that killed at least 28 and left over 280 injured. Instead of asking CGTD to shut down the pipe system and reporting the situation to the Environmental Protection Bureau, LCY requested CGTD continue supplying the propylene, causing a large amount of the gas to leak out over a span of three hours, he said. The explosions occurred late Thursday just before midnight. Chen Hung-lung, head of Kaohsiung's Fire Bureau, said that as soon as his bureau received a report of an unidentified gas emission at 8:46 p.m., 85 fighters were sent to the scene and used water mist to try to dilute the gas. At 9:50 p.m., the bureau notified the owners of various underground pipe systems in the area, including state-run oil company CPC Corp., China Petrochemical Development Corp., Taiwan Power Company and the Taiwan Railways Administration, he said, adding that CPC Corp. and China Petrochemical were required to shut down their pipe systems at 10:40 p.m. It was not until 11:20 p.m. that the gas was determined to be propylene, and it was only then that a CPC official disclosed that one of its pipelines was being used by LCY, he said. The bureau immediately informed LCY, but not in time to avert disaster, he said. LCY spokeswoman Pan Li-lin reiterated Saturday that her company will cooperate fully with the investigation into the explosions and will not try to evade responsibility once the cause is determined. (By Lee Hsi-chang, Chen Yi-wei and Y.F. Low)
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