Explosion and fire at Kaohsiung City oil refinery leaves nearby residents terrified

A hydrogen leak at a hydro-desulfurization unit at the Dalin Refinery in Kaohsiung City last night caused an explosion and fire that left nearby residents so terrified that they are demanding the government relocate their village, according to reports this morning, October 28. Fortunately there were no casualties following the incident.

The explosion and fire occurred at 10:35 pm at the CPC refinery on Zhonglin Road in Xiaogang District. The Kaohsiung City Fire Bureau dispatched 18 vehicles and 40 personnel from five fire stations to battle the blaze.

A CPC spokesman said that the fire had occurred due to a hydrogen leak after the unit had been shut down for annual maintenance. The company quickly isolated the unit from other operating units at the facility, but the remaining gas had to completely burn off to prevent secondary explosions. The fire was finally extinguished at 2:55 am.

refinery fire seen from a distance
Fire seen from a distance: Picture Southern Reporters Breaking News Facebook group.

CPC spokesperson Ray Chang, said there was “very limited impact” on the company’s output, as it has several other such units in its facilities across the island.

“We are moving quickly to look into the cause of the incident and make improvements,” Chang said, adding that an initial probe pointed to gas leakage but further checks were needed.

Kaohsiung City Mayor Chen Chi-mai ordered the plant to be shut down until it could be proven safe to resume operations. The city government today said that a fine of NT$5.3 million will be imposed on CPC.

Nearby residents gathered to protest, saying it was the fourth incident at the plant this year. “We are scared to death,” said one man. The residents requested the government relocate their village. Mayor Chen responded that after the upcoming local elections he would begin the relevant procedures.

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