Kaohsiung Municipal Siaogang Hospital, Taiwan. Photo: Google Maps
Kaohsiung Municipal Siaogang Hospital, Taiwan. Photo: Google Maps

A dozen migrant workers had to be rescued from a cold storage facility in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, on Saturday after an explosion caused a fire and an ammonia gas leak.

The explosion at about noon left the workers trapped in the plant and half of them had to be admitted to hospital later.

At 11am on December 2, a compressor on the first floor of the four-story cold storage plant at Ch’ien-chen Fishing Harbor was found to be faulty, The Real Daily reported. Technicians from the machine’s maintenance contractor were sent to inspect and repair the unit.

But at 12 noon there was a communication mix-up – migrant workers at the factory turned the machine back on, as they thought it had been fixed.

That caused the compressor to overheat and led to a small explosion, followed by a blaze and ammonia gas leak, a preliminary police investigation found.

Ten migrant workers rushed to the rooftop on the fourth floor, while two remained on the second floor. They were trapped in the building, but rescued by firefighters by around 1pm.

Six workers felt unwell after inhaling ammonia gas and were sent immediately to Kaohsiung Municipal Siaogang Hospital and Yuan’s General Hospital. All were stable after treatment in hospital.

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