Four firefighters dead, more than 100 people injured after explosions and fire in southern Taiwan industrial park

More than 100 people have been reported injured, and four firefighters are confirmed to have died, after a fire and multiple explosions at a factory in southern Taiwan, Friday, September 22.

At around 5:30 pm, residents up to 10 kilometers away from the Pingtung Technology Industrial Park reported hearing a large explosion. Residents close to the site of the explosion felt the earth shake, and said that a strong chemical stench immediately followed the blast.

Pingtung County Fire Department received reports of an explosion and fire at the Launch Technologies Company factory on Jingjian Road at 5:31 pm. PCFD dispatched 34 firefighting vehicles and 66 personnel to the scene of the fire.

According to reports, a team of firefighters were attempting to enter the partially collapsed building to search for trapped survivors when a secondary blast occurred at 6:01 pm, injuring 5 of the firefighters. One firefighter lost vital signs at the scene, and was declared dead after being rushed to hospital.

firetruck covered by debris after secondary explosion at scene of factory fire in Pingtung County
Firetruck affected by secondary explosion at scene of fire at LaunchTech factory in Pingtung County. Picture: PCFD.

The large number of injured overwhelmed local hospitals, and required many to be sent to hospitals as far away as Kaohsiung City. At 6:36 pm, Pingtung County Government requested support from the Kaohsiung City Government. Kaohsiung City Fire Department dispatched personnel and vehicles, including ambulances in support.

Crowded emergency ward at Pingtung Christian Hospital after factory explosion and fire
Picture: Pingtung Christian Hsopital.

At 9:00 pm, Pingtung County Government published a list of 82 injured people. The list included 8 firefighters. Ten people were still trapped in the partially collapsed and still burning facility, including three firefighters, and seven factory workers.

At 10:10 pm, the list of injured was increased to 96.

The Launch Technologies factory is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of golf balls, producing many well-known brands of golf balls, including Mizuno.

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