Gas blast near Taipei kills boy, injures 14

August 16, 2014 - 12:00:00 am

TAIPEI:  A toddler was killed and at least 14 people were injured in a gas explosion near Taipei yesterday, officials said, two weeks after powerful gas blasts claimed 30 lives in southern Taiwan.

Firefighters rushed to put out a fire after the explosion in an apartment in a 17-storey building in the Xindian district of New Taipei City earlier yesterday, shattering the glass in several nearby stores, television footage showed.

A one-year-old boy who suffered serious burns died after emergency treatment failed to revive him while 13 others were injured in the blast and a firefighter was injured when he fell at the scene, a spokesman for the New Taipei City fire department said.

The boy’s grandmother and two-and-a-half-year-old sister suffered serious burns, while others had minor injuries mostly from inhaling smoke, officials said.

An initial probe found that the blast originated in the master bedroom of the family’s third-floor apartment, they said.

“It was like a big earthquake at the time of the explosion when doors were shaking,” the Apple Daily Newspaper website quoted an eyewitness as saying.

New Taipei City deputy mayor Hou You-yi told reporters that the fire was started by an unidentified gas leak and that some residents had complained about a possible leak late Thursday.