Japan restaurant explosion injures 42 people and shakes buildings in Sapporo
More than 40 people were injured in an explosion Sunday night at a restaurant in northern Japan, police say.
- The cause of the explosion is under investigation
- Nearby windows were broken and the area littered with debris
- The district office set up an overnight shelter for neighbours of the restaurant
The explosion occurred in Sapporo, the capital city of Japan’s northern main island of Hokkaido, and caused nearby apartment buildings and houses to shake.
Police said 42 people were injured, most of them mildly, though one was in serious condition. They were rushed to nearby hospitals for treatment.
The cause of the explosion, which occurred at a two-story restaurant in Sapporo’s Toyohira district, is under investigation, police said, adding that they had no further details.
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.
Police and firefighters worked to get the site under control, fighting flames and smoke, and warned people in the neighbourhood of the possibility of another explosion, local media reported.
“I heard a bang which sounded like thunder, and my condo was shaken,” a man who lives nearby was quoted as saying by the Japan Times.
The explosion occurred at a two-story restaurant in Sapporo’s Toyohira district on Sunday night. (Reuters: Kyodo)
Eyewitnesses reported smelling gas in the area following the explosion, which happened at 8:30pm.
Footage from Japanese public broadcaster NHK showed grey smoke billowing from the restaurant as dozens of firefighters poured water onto the building, which was charred and nearly collapsing.
Windows on an apartment building next door were broken, and cars parked outside were partially covered with debris that had fallen on them.
The broadcaster said the district office was to set up a shelter for neighbours of the restaurant to stay overnight so they could escape the smoke.