Mon, Aug 01, 2016 - Page 9 News List

Fire engine half destroyed by warehouse explosion
化工廠爆炸 消防車半毀

A goods truck, right, and a small fire engine, lower left, are burned in a fire that broke out at an industrial chemicals warehouse in Taoyuan’s Sinwu District on July 23.

Photo: Lee Jung-ping, Liberty Times, from a fire department photo

On the evening of July 23 a big fire broke out in a warehouse rented by Zimi Chemicals on Cingtian Road in Taoyuan’s Sinwu District, causing an explosion. The firefighters did not originally know that sodium dithionite and other dangerous industrial chemicals were stored in the warehouse, and they got a fright when they found out. Taoyuan Fire Department Director-General Hu Ying-da slammed the owners for not installing signs to inform firefighters that dangerous substances were stored there, and he said they would have to pay a heavy fine in accordance with the law.

When firefighters responding to a report arrived on the scene at 9.14 in the evening, they found no sign outside the burning warehouse indicating that dangerous industrial chemicals were stored there. They only found this out when a worker rushed out to escape and told them that sodium dithionite was kept in the warehouse along with 70 30-liter barrels of hydrogen peroxide, potassium nitrate and other dangerous industrial chemicals. This got the firefighters very worried, and as they sprayed water on the fire they kept reminding each other to beware of explosions.

At about 9.40, a small fire engine that was parked less than three meters away from the main door of the warehouse was engulfed by a fireball and fierce flames following an explosion. The fire engine was half destroyed by fire, but luckily there was no one in it. Using an infrared thermometer, firefighters detected that the heat of the fire was about 800 degrees Celsius, so the company commander radioed his men to pull out.

The fire department says that sodium dithionite is widely used in the textiles industry for purposes such as vat dying and bleaching. It can autoignite at 250 degrees. When it comes into contact with water there is a chemical reaction and it burns, and as it does so it can easily release harmful gases.


1. arrive on the scene phr. 到場

(dao4 chang3)

例: When reporters arrived on the scene, three men were seen running away.


2. engulf v. 吞噬

(tun1 shi4)

例: The log cabin was engulfed in a sea of flames.


3. pull out v. phr. 撤退

(che4 tui4)

例: Our forces are heavily outnumbered. We must pull out.


(Liberty Times, translated by Julian Clegg)






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