Real estate staff reportedly emptied 120 deodorising spray cans before Sapporo blast
Employees of a realtor in the northern Japanese city of Sapporo emptied the contents of 120 cans of air freshener before an explosion injured 42 people and caused nearby apartment buildings and houses to shake, the company has admitted.
- The realtor says its employees turned on the water heater after emptying 120 aerosol cans of deodoriser
- The source says that 200 cans were being stored at the realtor’s premises
- Police reportedly suspect the emptying of the cans and the explosion are linked
Apamanshop’s Yasunori Tomita said in a media release that two of the realtor’s employees — who were in the store at the time of the incident — suffered burns after emptying the 120 cans and turning on the water heater.
The administration division deputy executive manager did not say why the cans of deodorant were being emptied, but it is common practice in Japan to empty aerosol cans before discarding them.
Mr Tomita said the realtor was investigating the total damage to the rented premises, equipment and surrounding buildings that resulted from the blaze and that he was praying for the quick recovery of those injured.
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.
Windows on an apartment building next door were broken, and cars parked outside were partially covered with debris that had fallen on them.
National broadcaster NHK reported that a source said about 200 cans were being stored at the business and that Apamanshop officials were not aware that the store had amassed so many cans.
Police are investigating why there was an overstock and suspected emptying the cans in a short period triggered the explosion, NHK reported.
Eyewitnesses reported smelling gas in the Toyohira district following Sunday night’s explosion. (Reuters: Kyodo)