At least two people are confirmed dead, and five people injured after an explosion in a residential apartment building in Sanchong District, New Taipei City this morning.
At around 4:00am an explosion in a second floor apartment in Lane 220, Datong North Road, rocked the district, completely destroying the apartment and shattering windows and doors in surrounding residences.
Firefighters rushed to the scene to find the apartment on fire. When the blaze was extinguished around 30 minutes later, firefighters found the burnt corpse of a 70 year-old woman named Zhang in the kitchen of the second floor apartment. An open gas cylinder was found nearby.
A 78 year-old woman named Liu was found without vital signs in an apartment on the third floor. Liu was later declared dead at the hospital.
Another two men, and three women were sent to hospital with minor burn injuries, and cuts and bruises.
New Taipei City Fire Bureau said that when firefighters arrived many residents had already fled the scene, and firefighters evacuated the remaining 20 residents in the vicinity of the fire.
The New Taipei City Government is assisting residents with emergency subsidies and accommodation while teams have been dispatched to the scene to clean up debris and deal with damaged building structures.
Nearby residents told reporters that they were awoken by a terrific blast to find their windows and doors had shattered. A neighbor living opposite to Zhang’s apartment said that the apartment looked as if it had been hit by a bomb. He quickly called emergency services and fled the house with his family.
Ms Zhang’s daughter-in-law spoke to Apple Daily and said that Zhang had just been released from hospital yesterday, after she was treated for cancer. Zhang had tumors in her neck and had had her uterus removed. Zhang had expressed thoughts of not wanting to live.
A thorough investigation of the cause of the explosion is underway.
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