Soldiers use electronic sensors to search for missing persons after massive gas explosions in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Friday. Pic: AP.

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Authorities in Taiwan’s second biggest city are focusing their investigation on a petrochemical firm after a series of gas pipeline explosions ripped streets apart and flung cars into the air, killing 27 people and injured 267 others.

An environmental protection bureau official in the industrial port city of Kaohsiung said in an interview that the pipeline used by Taipei-based petrochemical firm LCY Chemical Corp. was leaking nearly four tons of propene every hour on Thursday night.

Five explosions ripped through four streets in Kaohsiung starting around midnight Thursday, catapulting cars into the air and blasting cement rubble at passers-by, many of whom were out late at a nearby night market. The explosions were the city’s worst in 16 years.

LCY Chemical Corp. says it will cooperate with the investigation.

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