Problems with a residue hydrodesulfurization system led to an explosion and fire Wednesday morning at a petrochemical plant in Mailiao, Taiwan, local media report.
Three people were injured in the emergency.
At about 9 a.m., heavy oil and hydrogen gas ignited in the HDS factory at the Formosa Plastics Group complex in Yunlin County. An FPG spokesman blamed the fire on a seal leak in the unit.
Hydrodesulfurization involves removing sulfur from natural gas and refined petroleum product by means of a catalytic chemical process.
The fire engulfed an area of almost 2,000 square meters that was still burning four hours after the initial explosion.
Almost eighty firefighters and 20 emergency vehicles responded to the fire scene, the Yunlin County Fire Department reports.
Fifteen months ago, several explosions at the same plant shook houses five kilometers away. No injuries were reported in that emergency.
FPG was fined NT$5 million for pollution related to that incident.