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'Tough measures' promised after Taiwan gas blasts

Taiwan's president promised "tough measures" to prevent an incident like the gas blasts which rocked the port city of Kaohsiung from happening again.

Rescue personnel survey the wreckage after an explosion. Credit: REUTERS/Toby Chang

Speaking on local television, Ma Ying-jeou said: "We will make further arrangements and inspections to avoid this kind of disaster from occurring again,"

Rescue authorities said police and soldiers had been drafted in to help firefighters after the midnight explosion and blaze gutted a district in the port city of Kaohsiung packed with shops and apartment buildings.

At least 25 people were killed by the gas leak, including four firefighters and 267 were injured by the blast.

At least 24 dead and 271 injured in Taiwan gas blasts

At least 24 people have been killed and 271 injured in a series of massive underground gas blasts in Taiwan.

A gas explosion goes off in the city of Kaohsiung. Credit: APTN

The fires are believed to have been caused by a leak of propene, often known as propylene, a petrochemical material not intended for public use.

The series of explosions happened along pipelines and split the street open. Credit: APTN

Emergency services are still looking for people they believe are trapped under the rubble.

Rescue teams survey the aftermath of the five explosions. Credit: APTN

Residents who live along the pipelines have been asked to evacuate.

A fire victim is taken to hospital. Credit: APTN

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Series of gas explosions in Taiwan kill 20 and injure 270

A series of underground gas explosions in Taiwan have killed 20 people and injured 270 more.

Five firefighters, who were investigating reports of a gas leak at the time, were among the dead, the National Fire Agency said

Wreckage of vehicles are seen amongst debris after an explosion in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan. Credit: Reuters

Taiwan's premier Jiang Yi-huah said at least five blasts shook the streets of Kaohsiung, a south-western port city of 2.8 million.

The source of the leak had not yet been located but Kaohsiung mayor Chen Chu said several petrochemical companies had pipelines built along the sewage system in Chian-Chen district, which has both factories and residential buildings.

"Our priority is to save people now. We ask citizens living along the pipelines to evacuate," Mr Chen told TVBS television.

Video shows jet of fire on Taiwan street

Video - which has not been independently verified by ITV News - appears to show gas pipes exploding in Taiwan and later captures jets of fire shooting up from the street.

After around 46 seconds on a video posted on YouTube, following an initial explosion, jets of flame begin to burst from the road.

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'Gas-like smell' was reported before Taiwan gas blasts

Taiwan authorities received calls from residents in Kaohsiung's Cianjhen district about suspected gas leaks, AFP reported. The leak triggered a series of explosions that were powerful enough to rip open roads and overturn cars.

The fire agency said in a statement: "The local fire department received calls of gas leaks late Thursday and then there was a series of blasts around midnight affecting a area of two to three square kilometres." Emergency workers rushed to the scene and were removing bodies from the area.

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