A gas explosion yesterday at a petrochemical plant in the Formosa Plastics Group (FPG, 台塑集團) naphtha cracker complex in Yunlin County’s Mailiao Township (麥寮) sparked a fire, but there were no casualties, a FPG executive said.
The blast was triggered by a leak of liquefied petroleum gas, said Chen Wen-yang (陳文仰), a deputy director in FPG’s Mailiao management division.
The explosion occurred at an aromatics production factory run by Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp (台灣化纖) at about 2pm, and the blast was heard by people living up to 6km away, local firefighters said.
It was followed by a dense plume of smoke rising into the sky.
The fire was reported to the Yunlin County Fire Department at 2:05pm and fire trucks and ambulances from several brigades were dispatched to the plant.
When they arrived 20 minutes later, a fire was blazing, the firefighters said.
The blaze was quickly brought under control, Chen said.
Operations at the aromatics factory have been suspended to allow for a complete inspection of its pipelines, he added.
The Yunlin County Government, which ordered the factory to be immediately shut down for the investigation, said it would impose a NT$5 million (US$162,248) fine on the company for contravening the Air Pollution Control Act (空氣污染防制法).
It demanded that FPG replace old pipelines and equipment in the naphtha cracker complex.
The group should also take full responsibility for the repairs of nearby fish ponds and residential properties damaged by the explosion, the country government said.
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