An explosion at a chemical plant in an industrial zone in Yunlin county shattered glass in buildings up to two kilometers away, shook houses five kilometers away, and was heard more than 30 kilometers away, according to media reports, today, April 7.
Fortunately, there were no human casualties.
The explosion occurred at 2:04pm at the Formosa Plastics Group Taihua aromatics plant, at the petrochemical conglomerate’s refinery complex in the Mailiao Industrial Park, and was followed by an intense fire emitting a thick pall of black smoke.
Witnesses reported a second explosion occurring around 10 minutes after the first blast.
The explosion is suspected to have occurred due to a leak in an LPG pipe.
Apple Daily reported that the explosion shook buildings in the surrounding industrial zone, causing office ceilings to fall.
The fire department dispatched teams from four fire stations in the surrounding district. The fire was brought under control shortly after 4:00pm.
A man named Chen, who lives “a 20 minute drive away” from the industrial area, told Apple Daily that when he heard the explosion his first thought was that China had attacked Taiwan.
United Daily News reported that windows shattered in buildings two kilometers away, and Storm Media said the explosion was heard as far away as Linnei Township – more than 30 kilometers away.
Another report published by United Daily News claimed that poultry, including chickens and ducks on nearby farms died due to shock caused by the explosion. UDN published a video showing a broken brick wall apparently damaged by the blast. [See video below]
In 2015, an explosion occurred at the refinery due to hydrogen leaking from a pipe.
Yunlin County Magistrate Zhang, Li-shan visited the site and demanded an investigation into the cause of the accident be concluded within three days, and that the EPA fines the company under article 32 of the pollution act with a fine of NT$5 million.
Ms Zhang said that the refinery complex is the largest petrochemical plant in Asia with an annual profit of NT$40-50 billion. In the light of two explosions within 4 years due to leaking pipes, Zhang ordered work stopped until the investigation team provides an incident report within three days, and demanded that all pipelines in the plant be inspected.
Damage to people’s homes, and nearby industries needs to be investigated and full compensation paid to the affected people and businesses, Zhang said.