More than 40 people were injured on Sunday when an explosion caused a fire at a commercial building housing a pub in Sapporo City on Japan’s northern main island of Hokkaido. Police suspect a gas leak may be the cause, reports NHK.
Police say the explosion occurred at around 8:30 PM in Toyohira Ward, about 3 kilometers southeast of the Sapporo City center.
Police say the subsequent fire burned a building housing a pub, a real estate agent, and another store. They say the fire injured 42 people, including those who were inside the pub and the realtor.
The fire was put out 5 and a half hours later, but the 2-story building was severely damage and windows of nearby houses were shattered.
Police say an employee of the realtor in his 30s suffered severe burns to his face, but the injuries are not life threatening.
Police quoted witnesses saying that they noticed the odor of gas. They say that the realtor’s office was the most severely damaged.
The district is crowded with restaurants, bars, and houses.