TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Five people were injured in a gas explosion in New Taipei City early this morning after a woman apparently attempted to commit suicide.
Four men suffered minor injuries, while one woman sustained serious wounds, after a massive explosion ripped through the fifth floor of an apartment in New Taipei City's Banqiao District early this morning. The cause of the blast appears to be a gas tank, which a 39-year-old woman has allegedly confessed to igniting in a suicide attempt.
At 2 a.m. this morning, firefighters received a report of a powerful explosion occurring on the 5th floor of an apartment on Xinhailu. The blast was so powerful, that many household items and even metal burglar bars were sent flying to the pavement below.
Residents at the scene reported the sound and smell of leaking gas, and police immediately cordoned off the area.
Interior of apartment after blast. (Image from New Taipei Fire Department)
A female member of the Taiwanese Facebook group Breaking News Commune (爆料公社) reported she had been sleeping half the night when she was suddenly "awoken to run for her life... a gas tank had been had not been turned off and had exploded." She said that she was living across from the site of the blast and provided the following account:
"Everything flew towards my home, there is already a lot of panic and confusion, please everyone don't attack me. Currently, firefighters are responding to the disaster. Five injured people have been taken to Far Eastern Memorial Hospital. It has been confirmed that no other injured or trapped people remain inside. Please exercise caution when driving through 430 Lane, Xinhai Road, Banqiao District, New Taipei City."
The mother of the some of the injured said her eldest son was on the floor above, her second son and daughter-in-law were at home, and she was downstairs sorting items for recycling when the blast occurred, reported China Times. The woman's daughter-in-law, a 39-year-old woman surnamed Lee (李), allegedly admitted to rescuers at the scene that she had lit a gas cannister in an attempt to commit suicide. Firefighters found an exploded gas tank under the third floor rear balcony, reported ETtoday.
Police said that they will wait until Lee's condition stabilizes before questioning her and clarifying whether the blast was due to a gas leakage during a shower or a suicide attempt. If it is the latter, she will be charged with Offenses Against Public Safety (公共危險罪).
(Photo from 爆料公社)
Those considering suicide should immediately call the Taiwan Suicide Prevention Center at any time at 0800-788995 or Taiwan Lifeline International at 1995. Foreign residents can call the Community Services Center's emergency hotline at 0932-594-578 at any time 24 hours a day.