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Second victim dies after Xindian gas explosion; mayor visits
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-08-16 10:26 PM
Another of the three residents of the apartment where a gas explosion occurred on Friday has succumbed to her injuries Saturday morning. The 59 year old woman was the grandmother of two of the other victims, a 16 month old boy, who died Friday, and his two year old sister.

A hospital spokesperson stated the 59 year old victim sustained second to third degree burns over nearly 90 percent of her body. The two year old girl remains in critical condition. The father of the children returned to the scene of the accident Saturday accompanied by family members. He stated that he “is very tired. His mother is gone. He hopes authorities can find the truth as soon as possible and return the truth to us.”

The gas explosion occurred in a third floor residential unit of a building located on Ankang Road in the Xindian District of New Taipei City Friday, throwing debris 10 meters and shaking surrounding structures. Firefighters brought the resulting blaze under control at approximately 4 PM. There were 13 casualties and 2 fatalities. Victims were sent to Cardinal Tien Hospital, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital, Shuang Ho Hospital, and Wan Fang Hospital.

According to the Central News Agency, Residents complained to New Taipei Deputy Mayor Hou Yu-ih after he arrived at the scene that they reported the gas smell at 3 p.m. Thursday and that the smell became heavier by 6 p.m. and they wanted to know how to file for compensation.

The fire department stated, a total of 38 fire trucks and 97 firefighters were dispatched. The Shin Shin Natural Gas Co. stated at the scene that the building uses natural gas and all relevant pipelines had been shut off. Shin Shin stated that the external natural gas pipeline was not compromised though the fire chief remarked, the location of the leak is still under investigation. Two possible locations include either the gas company’s external gas pipeline or the gas pipe in the kitchen of the residential unit.

Shin Shin inspected gas pipelines in every residential unit Saturday and decided to replace all the pipelines in the affected building.

Officials from the Taipei District Prosecutors Office surveyed the scene of the accident Saturday afternoon. A forensics team from the Xindian police department and fire investigations personnel from the fire department were also onsite in the cordoned off third and fourth floor residential units to gather forensic evidence. Shin Shin employees accompanied the investigators. In order to preserve evidence, Shin Shin testing instruments, soft tubing, related maintenance logs, building CCTV recordings, and building security logs have been seized for further investigation.

New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu also visited the site of the gas explosion Saturday afternoon.

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