TAIPEI - At least one person was killed and 14 others injured, some with severe burns, after an explosion rocked a curry restaurant at lunchtime on Tuesday (July 18) in the Fengjia business district in the central Taiwan city of Taichung, reports said.
A woman's body was found in the toilet on the second floor of the restaurant hours after the blaze was brought under control, Central News Agency reported.
Six of the injured were reported to be students from the nearby Feng Chia University. Local media said they had just arrived at the curry restaurant, or were standing in line for their lunch, when a gas cylinder in the restaurant exploded.
The 30-year-old owner of the restaurant is said to be in critical condition with second- and third-degree burns over 90 per cent of his body, the United Daily News reported.
A series of explosions were heard from the restaurant in the city's Xitun District at 12.22 pm before a fire engulfed the restaurant, a clothing store, a noodle restaurant, as well as residential units above the shops.
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
Four residents had to be rescued by firemen using ladders. At least two of those injured suffered burns over 80 per cent of their body. Several were in their 20s, reported Taiwan News.
One of the injured was a heavily pregnant woman in her 30s. The number of victims may increase.
Five ambulances, 23 fire engines and 69 fire fighters were dispatched to the scene, which is close to the popular Feng Jia night market.
Initial estimates of the damage stood at NT$1.5 million (US$49,400), reports said.