Taipei, Aug. 17 (CNA) The president of Shin Shin Natural Gas Co., the gas company implicated in Friday's gas explosion in New Taipei, apologized Sunday for the accident that killed at least two people and injured a dozen others. Bowing and saying "sorry" during a media interview, Li Ching-kuo promised that his company will improve the training of his employees and review its standard operating procedures to conduct checks of potential gas leaks more professionally in the future. Li said prosecutors are investigating the cause of the blast, and that Shin Shin will accept its responsibility in the accident. The company is expected to restore the supply of natural gas to the affected building within three days after replacing damaged pipelines at the scene, he said. The number of fatalities in the explosion rose to two on Saturday as a 59-year-old woman died of second to third degree burns that covered nearly 90 percent of her body. The explosion occurred in the woman's third-floor apartment and caused a fire in the high-rise residential building, of nearly 90 apartments, according to an initial investigation. The woman's 16-month-old grandson was also killed. Her other grandchild -- a two-year-old girl -- remained in critical condition with severe burns as of Sunday evening. Residents of the building alerted the gas company after smelling natural gas on Thursday afternoon, but they complained on Friday that workers sent to the building to check the smell did not take the problem seriously and explained it away as a natural "biogas" issue. Despite the apology by Shin Shin's president on Sunday, residents of the affected building remained angry with the gas company's attitude before the explosion, saying that it should have checked the reported smell more thoroughly to prevent the tragedy.
(By Sunrise Huang, Huang Yi-han and Jeffrey Wu)