A fire that started after an explosion at the SCI Pharmtech factory in Taoyuan City shortly after noon today continues to burn this evening, and has spread to five neighboring factories.
Large quantities of highly volatile solvents poured out of tanks after the initial explosion, making an intense fire, with risk of further explosions. These conditions prevented firefighters from approaching the main fire this afternoon.
Strong winds generated by the northeast monsoon, and a sudden change in wind direction caused the fire to spread to neighboring factories including Taoyuan Paper Mill, Tong Yang Precision, Gwo Chern Industrial, Hong Lee Textiles, and Guang Lun Jie Environmental Protection Company.
The Taoyuan Fire Department told reporters this evening that the fire was under control by 5:30 pm, but will probably not be completely extinguished until tomorrow.
Nearby residents reported a pungent, disgusting smell, and some reported experiencing dizziness and nausea.
The fire department also said that the SCI Pharmtech factory has been completely destroyed.
A Taiwanese employee was discharged from the hospital after suffering burns to 1% of his body, while a Filipino national remains intubated in an intensive care burns unit after suffering third-degree burns to 90% of his body.
The factory is reported to be the world’s second-largest supplier of hydroxychloroquine APIs.
Cover Picture: Taoyuan City Police Department.
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