Gas Explosions Kill Dozens in Taiwan

KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan (AP) -- At least 25 people have been killed and nearly 270 when several underground gas explosions ripped through Taiwan's second-largest city of Kaohsiung (kow-SHYUNG') Friday, hurling concrete and cars through the air and blasting long trenches in the streets.

Four firefighters called to a neighborhood to investigate a gas leak are among those killed in the blasts. And officials with the National Fire Agency say the death toll could rise because many of the seriously injured are still being treated.

The series of five explosions struck a densely populated district where several petrochemical companies operate pipelines alongside the sewer system in the city.

One resident who lives 10 buildings away from the main explosion site says, "the house started shaking and I thought it was a huge earthquake, but when I opened the door, I saw white smoke all over and smelled gas."