Damage to a car gives an indication of the extent of the
An explosion caused by a gas leak in Taiwan's second city
killed 22 peeople, injured 270 and sent flames shooting 15
storeys into the air, a government agency said.
The Central Disaster Emergency Operation Center said police
and soldiers had been drafted in to help firefighters in a
neighbourhood of apartment buildings and small shops in the
port city of Kaohsiung.
Media reports suggested the death toll was likely to rise
A Reuters photographer said the blast had set a long stretch
of Kaihsuan Road on fire, sent flames dozens of metres into
the air and overturned parked cars. Rescuers formed a chain
to pull dozens of injured from a vast crater in the street.
The body of a child, either dead or injured, lay alongside
large piles of rubble.
Residents told Formosa TV that they had seen smoke with a
"gas-like smell" coming out of drains in the street shortly
before the explosion. The city's fire department said the
blast had been caused by a gas leak.
Some residents said the force of the explosion was similar to
that of an earthquake.
Local authorities set up an emergency centre to be staffed by
servicemen coordinating the rescue operation