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Technicians involved in Xindian blasts out on bail

TAIPEI -- Three technicians employed by a gas company were released on bail Monday after being questioned over the Aug. 15 gas explosion in Xindian, New Taipei that killed two people and injured more than a dozen others.

The Taipei District Prosecutors Office (TDPO) summoned the three Shin Shin Natural Gas Co. technicians, identified only by their surnames of Tsai, Chen and Yeh, in connection with the case and later ordered their release on bail for offenses against public safety and negligence.

Tsai and Chen, both of whom are inspectors who entered the building a day earlier after receiving complaints from residents about a strong smell of gas, were each released on NT$300,000 (US$10,048) bail, while Yeh, who is a technician in charge of regular maintenance and repairs, was bailed for NT$200,000.

TDPO spokesman Huang Mo-hsin said that to assuage public misgivings about safety, it also published facts about the case based on objective on-site examinations.

Huang pointed out that tests on pipes in the apartment on the third floor of the building — where a 59-year-old woman and her 16-month-old grandson were killed — showed no leaks, although an outer pipe installed on the balcony of the apartment did show signs of leakage and corrosion.

He said that although the gas stove in the kitchen of the apartment was turned on, it has a safety device that automatically shuts off the gas supply and therefore has no possibility of leakage.

Huang said the prosecutors will continue to investigate in order to apportion blame on whoever is responsible.

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