Restaurant explosion leaves more than 40 injured in Japan

Arturo Kim
December 20, 2018

Among the 42 who were injured, one person was said to be in a serious condition.

The cause of the explosion was not yet known.

Flames still were smoldering among the wreckage of the two-story wooden building around 1 a.m. Monday local time, almost five hours after the explosion occurred, NHK and other local media outlets reported.

The explosion occurred in the late hours of the evening and was initially thought to have come from an izakaya restaurant, but police are now suggesting it may have originated at agency Apaman Shop next door, according to CNA.

Video of the incident posted on social media showed flames and dark smoke billowing into the night sky and people scrambling to safety beside a street strewn with debris and shattered glass.

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After the explosion at around 8:30 p.m. Sunday, the two-story building in the city's Toyohira Ward collapsed nearly entirely and the flames spread to an adjacent fast-food restaurant. One witness reportedly said he had smelled gas after the explosion.

The explosion in Sapporo on Sunday night, December 16, started fires and caused the partial collapse of some surrounding buildings.

The cause of the blast is being investigated. A local fire department said the three tenants in the buildings were poorly prepared for possible fires as it found no equipment for evacuations or alarms there during an on-site inspection in October.

According to reports, dozens of people were eating when at the restaurant - located in Sapporo's Toyohira District - when the explosion happened at around 8.30pm. Gas lines in the wooden buildings were damaged, it said.

A number of people have also been reported as missing, while others have been rushed to a nearby hospital, BNO News said.

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