Four people suffered injuries on Monday in the aftermath of a possible gas explosion at an establishment in Tokyo’s Shimbashi district, which set off a blaze and left the vicinity in a swath of ash.
A firetruck arrived on the scene surrounded by offices and restaurants after an eyewitness reported an emergency phone call to the police around three in the afternoon. Authorities confirmed that the three people, including the bar owner, had suffered severe injuries, and one was slightly hurt.
An investigation around the scene of the incident led to the finding that there was an excessive concentration of gas on the second floor where the bar was located. They suspect the possibility of a gas leak.
The bar owner made told the police that he could smell something like a gas leak or sewage in the smoking zone; however, he still proceeded to light a cigarette which triggered the explosion.
The establishment had yet to open for the day, and no customers were waiting inside. The flames have almost died down, as officials from the Tokyo Fire Department said.
Alongside the business’s owner, a woman who was in her 50s working in the bar at the time of the incident was wounded, as were two males in their 50s and 70s who were passing on the spot. Both men seem injured due to the glass fragments that fell on them.
The event shocked everyone in the neighborhood, and Yosuke Nishikawa (28), who runs a bar right next to the scene, stated, “I heard a tremendous explosion.:
Windows shattered from the second floor, and glass and paper were everywhere, right below the street. The flames started growing outside after 5-10 minutes of the explosion.
Shinobu Nagagawa, 26, working at a Japanese-style bar on the first floor, claimed the bar could “smell gas” even before she started her shift. “I was so scared right after the explosion; I thought maybe a car had crashed into the building.”
The structure is located just 300 m away from JR Shimbashi Station. It is eight floors tall and contains both an underground area and a basement.
Concerns were raised about the dangers of gas leaks. The area was sealed off. Those who walked by were instructed to keep a distance of 30 meters from the site as per the police.
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