Japan police investigate cause of blast that hurt 42

By: AFP December 17,2018 - 10:08 PM

JAPANESE police were investigating Monday the cause of a powerful blast that ripped through a restaurant in the country’s north overnight, injuring 42 people and damaging surrounding buildings.

The explosion in the city of Sapporo on Sunday night started fires and caused the partial collapse of some neighbouring buildings, forcing dozens of residents into shelters, officials said.

The cause of the blast was still under investigation, police said, but there were reports that it may have been a gas leak.

Some reports said fumes were leaking from spray cans that had been collected for disposal at a real estate company in the building.

But investigators were also looking into at least nine propane tanks installed in the building for the various businesses located inside.

Numerous customers at the restaurant on the building’s first floor said they smelled gas at the time of the explosion, Kyodo News agency reported.

The blast produced large flames and sent plumes of smoke rising in the night air, with witnesses describing a terrifying boom.

The two-story wooden building, which also housed a clinic, was seriously damaged, a Sapporo fire department official told AFP.
Police said 42 people had been injured, but there were no fatalities. Among the injured were several children, as well as a man who suffered burns and a woman who jumped from the building to escape, breaking her leg in the process.

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TAGS: 42, blast, cause, hurt, investigate, Japan, police

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