People as far as Tamsui District in New Taipei City reported hearing the massive blast shortly after noon. Immediately after the blast, thick black smoke could be seen pouring out of the SCI Pharmtech factory.
Firefighters responding to the fire found two people injured. A 30-year-old foreign migrant worker suffered third-degree burns to 80%-90% of his body, and is described as being in a critical condition.
A 40-year-old man suffered a burn to one hand. Both men were sent to Chang Gung Memorial Hospital for treatment.
While the factory is located close to Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, operations at the airport were not affected, according to reports in United Daily News and ET Today.
The Taoyuan City Fire Department dispatched 76 personnel, 28 fire appliances and 2 ambulances to the scene of the fire.
The cause of the explosion is currently under investigation.
Liberty Times reported that the factory produces hydroxychloroquine APIs, and is the world’s second largest HCQ raw material supplier
A fire that started after an explosion at the SCI Pharmtech factory in Taoyuan City shortly after noon today continues to burn this evening, and has spread to five neighboring factories.
Large quantities of highly volatile solvents poured out of tanks after the initial explosion, making an intense fire, with risk of further explosions. These conditions prevented firefighters from approaching the main fire this afternoon.
Strong winds generated by the northeast monsoon, and a sudden change in wind direction caused the fire to spread to neighboring factories including Taoyuan Paper Mill, Tong Yang Precision, Gwo Chern Industrial, Hong Lee Textiles, and Guang Lun Jie Environmental Protection Company.
The Taoyuan Fire Department told reporters this evening that the fire was under control by 5:30 pm, but will probably not be completely extinguished until tomorrow.
Nearby residents reported a pungent, disgusting smell, and some reported experiencing dizziness and nausea.
The fire department also said that the SCI Pharmtech factory has been completely destroyed.
A Taiwanese employee was discharged from the hospital after suffering burns to 1% of his body, while a Filipino national remains intubated in an intensive care burns unit after suffering third-degree burns to 90% of his body.
Source: Taiwan English News
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