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Explosion at Japan restaurant injures 42 — police

Explosion at Japan restaurant injures 42: police

Firefighters carry out rescue work after an explosion at a restaurant in Sapporo, in the northern Hokkaido prefecture on December 16, 2018. Dozens have been injured and no casualties have been reported. AFP

TOKYO, Japan – An explosion at a restaurant in northern Japan injured 42 people late Sunday, police said, with the blast reportedly causing surrounding buildings to collapse.

Fires broke out following the incident in the northern city of Sapporo, Kyodo news agency said, and images from the scene showed large flames and plumes of smoke rising in the night air.

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A police official for the Hokkaido region told AFP “there are 42 injuries” but no one was killed.

The cause of the blast is being investigated. One witness reportedly said he had smelled gas after the explosion.

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The building that housed the restaurant was heavily damaged, as were other nearby businesses, including a real estate company, Jiji news agency said.

Children were injured in the blast, Jiji added, citing police.

National broadcaster NHK said it took firefighters several hours to extinguish the flames.

Police warned earlier of possible secondary explosions, according to Kyodo, which described buildings collapsing following the incident around 8.30 p.m.  /cbb

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