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Communities urged to conduct gas safety checks

THE Songjiang District government has asked communities to start gas safety campaigns after a blast killed a security guard and injured three people on Wednesday.

Residents have been asked to be more aware of gas leaks as the gas authority says it has only enough resources to check all gas pipes every two years.

"It's impossible for us to conduct checks covering the whole district instantly due to limited manpower," said an official surnamed Dai of Shanghai Songjiang Gas Co Ltd.

Police said the blast was the result of a natural-gas leak but the exact cause of the leak remained under investigation.

The blast happened in a ground-floor apartment in Guyang Road about 6am on Wednesday.

The apartment was destroyed and homes in four other buildings sustained damage. Many residents have been able to return to their homes after putting up temporary coverings over broken windows. But building No. 104, where the blast occurred, is still closed to residents.

The neighborhood will provide 100 yuan (US$14.60) a day to each family who cannot return home.

Residents say the explosion may have occurred when the security guard, Lu Guiming, rang a doorbell in the building after a resident reported strong smell of gas.

Zhu Li, who lived in the room where the explosion occurred, suffered burns to 5 percent of his body. He is stable in hospital. Two passers-by suffered minor injuries.

What To Do If You Suspect A Leak

Tang Yichun, an official of the safety service department at the Shanghai Gas Company, gives this advice:

* If you smell gas in a room, do not turn on lights or use the telephone or any other electrical appliance. A small spark could cause a huge blast depending on how much gas has accumulated in the room. Open the windows and leave the room immediately, then call the police.

* If you think another apartment has a gas leak, inform the police or gas authorities immediately. Do not try to break into the apartment because kicking down an iron door could cause a spark that could ignite the gas. Breaking in by other means could create static electricity, which could also ignite gas.


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