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24 killed, 271 injured, buildings toppled in Taiwan gas explosion

Published on Aug 1, 2014 12:49 PM

KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan (REUTERS) - An explosion caused by a gas leak killed 24 people and injured 271 in Taiwan's second city on Friday, sending flames shooting 15 storeys into the air, setting entire blocks ablaze and reducing small shops to rubble.

The Central Disaster Emergency Operation Center said police and soldiers had been drafted in to help firefighters after the midnight explosion and blaze gutted a district in the port city of Kaohsiung packed with shops and apartment buildings.

Four firefighters were among the dead. Media reports suggested the death toll was likely to rise sharply.

President Ma Ying-jeou pledged tough measures to prevent any recurrence of the incident.

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