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LCY will not avoid responsibility in blasts: chairman

2014/08/01 23:12:20

Taipei, Aug. 1 (CNA) LCY Chemical Corp. Chairman Bowei Lee pledged Friday that his company will cooperate fully with the investigation into deadly explosions that jolted Kaohsiung overnight after city authorities said the company might be responsible for the blasts.

"We would never avoid" responsibility once the cause of the explosions has been determined, Lee said.

The executive hoped that authorities could soon clarify exactly what happened, and if the disaster was caused by a gas leak or a propene leak or if a pipe leaked after being damaged by a construction project.

LCY Chemical also expressed its condolences to the families of the victims of the blasts and felt deeply sorry that the incident had occurred, Lee said.

At least 26 people were killed and more than 260 injured in a series of explosions that began just minutes before midnight Thursday night.

Chen Chin-der, head of Kaohsiung's Environmental Protection Bureau, told CNA that based on the samples collected at the scene, the bureau has established that a major propene leak caused the multiple gas explosions.

It found that the pressure in the LCY Chemical piping system used to channel propene was abnormal starting at around 8 p.m. Thursday night and that 3.77 metric tons of propene leaked between 8 and 9 p.m. alone, Chen said.

The company did not shut down the pipe system until 11:40 p.m., the official said, and the first explosion occurred roughly 16 minutes later.

The concentration of propene at the site of the blasts was an abnormally high 13,000 ppm, and could have been set off in the tight confines of the underground piping network by the slightest spark.

(By Chang Ming-kun, Pan Chih-yi, Lilian Wu and Kuo Chung-han)
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Related stories:
●Aug. 1: LCY Chemical leaks likely to have set off blasts: Kaohsiung official
●Aug. 1: Kaohsiung mayor asks for rearrangement of pipelines after blast