Taiwan pesticide plant blaze forces thousands to evacuate

CHINA - DSM-AGI Corporation's (???????) Shin Hua plant in Tainan, a chemical company producing pesticides, caught fire yesterday morning, injuring eight people and forcing thousands of residents to evacuate, including staff and patients hospitalized in the nearby Tainan Hospital Shin Hua branch.

To protect people from the toxic substances that might leak out or be released from the fire, the Tainan government has already temporarily shut off the hospital and neighboring agricultural refinement factories, evacuated the patients in the hospital and also approximately 1500 residents living in Yang Lin, Na Ba and Chiao Keng villages.

Eight workers were injured in the blaze, including Jiang Zhi-rong (???) who suffered a second-degree burn above the neck, Zhuang Bing-nan (???) who burnt his limbs, and Wu?Zheng-xian (???) and Li Yuan-fu (???). All eight were hospitalized for non life-threatening wounds.

The director of the Environmental Protection Bureau Chang Huang-chen (???) said that the fire might have caused a xylene leakage, a solvent not considerd highly toxic to humans. Chang also said that the firefighters were trying their best to extinguish the fire before it spreads to the toxic substance section.

Dean of the Tainan Hospital Shin Hua branch Liu?Ming-dao expressed his concerns about the danger of a possible toxic substance leakage as the factory was located close to a hospital and several residential areas, and hoped that the government officials can closely investigate and reflect on this accident.