Toddler Killed, 13 Wounded in Gas Blast Near Taipei

A toddler was killed and 13 people were injured in a gas explosion near Taipei today, officials said, two weeks after powerful gas blasts claimed 30 lives in southern Taiwan.

Firefighters rushed to put out a fire after the explosion in an apartment in a 17-storey building in the Xindian district of New Taipei City earlier today, shattering the glass in several nearby stores, television footage showed.

A one-year-old boy who suffered serious burns died after emergency treatment failed to revive him while 13 others were wounded in the blast, a spokesman for the New Taipei City fire department said.

New Taipei City deputy mayor Hou You-yi told reporters that the fire was started by an unidentified gas leak and that some residents had complained to a natural gas company about a possible leak yesterday.

The accident came after gas explosions on July 31 killed 30 and injured more than 300 people in Kaohsiung, Taiwan's second-largest city.

Those blasts sparked massive fires that tore through main roads, leaving trenches running down the middle of some streets and throwing vehicles onto the roofs of buildings several stories high.

The city government has blamed LCY Chemical Corp for the explosions, saying around 10 tonnes of propene may have leaked from pipelines operated by the company in the hours before the first explosion.

President Ma Ying-jeou has vowed a full investigation into the cause of the accident and a review of the city's gas supply network.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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