Taiwan explosions: Kaohsiung homes declared safe after gas blasts killed 26

Five explosions ripped through four streets starting at around midnight on Thursday, catapulting cars into the air and blasting cement rubble at passers-by

Around 12,000 people returned home to Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s second city, after gas explosions killed 26 people and injured 267 others.

Clean-up work is under way in the 1 square mile area, where investigators are turning to the task of determining the cause of the blasts, the city's worst such disaster in 16 years.

Most of the four ruptured street sections in the densely populated district of Kaohsiung had been declared safe from further explosions, a city spokesman said. A fire that burned through the night had also been put out.

Five explosions ripped through four streets starting at around midnight on Thursday, catapulting cars into the air and blasting cement rubble at passers-by, many of whom were out late because of a nearby night market.

That came about three hours after a gas leak had been reported on Kaixuan Road, but emergency services had been unable to locate the source.

Four firefighters were among the victims and two were missing, while at least six fire trucks were flung into the rubble. The blasts sent flames shooting into the sky and hurled concrete through the air, leaving broad, trenches down the middle of roads.

Many of the injured are still receiving medical treatment. The disaster was Taiwan's second in as many weeks following the crash of a TransAsia Airways prop jet on the island of Penghu on July 23 that killed 48 people and injured 10.

AP

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