40+ people injured in explosion at restaurant in northern Japan - police (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)
The blast occurred at the Izakaya Cherry Blossom restaurant in the city of Sapporo, with the building's walls collapsing as it erupted into flames.
Photos and videos from the scene show people running away as they feared for their lives amid huge flames and billowing smoke.
Firefighters can be seen arriving in one of the videos, while panicked passersby are heard in the background.
Roofs and windows from nearby buildings were shattered due to the impact of the explosion, The Mainichi reported.
地下鉄平岸駅の交差点付近の居酒屋が爆発したみたい。店が潰れてた。今は炎が上がってて、さらに爆発の恐れありで近づかないようにと。 pic.twitter.com/6AO2TjUIDU— 寿 (@kot0buk1) December 16, 2018
“I heard a ‘bang,’ which sounded like thunder, and my condo was shaken,” a local resident in his 50s told The Japan Times.
Several people were rushed to hospital by ambulance following the blast. One person is in critical condition, according to fire department officials cited by The Japan Times.
札幌の豊平区平岸駅前の飲食店でガス爆発か？けが人複数いる模様( •́ω•̀ ) pic.twitter.com/V4Z23UbJbN— わし＠猫もふ不足 (@washihoshi) December 16, 2018
Authorities were alerted to the explosion in Sapporo's Toyohira Ward neighborhood at around 8:30 pm local time on Sunday.
The cause of the explosion is currently unknown.
平岸の居酒屋がガス爆発して火災も起きました。周辺は封鎖されてます。平岸駅すぐ近くです。 pic.twitter.com/7zDvRXU1LQ— Yuta Morochi (@yutamorichi) December 16, 2018
The area where the explosion occurred is located about 50 meters from a metro station. It is home to many popular eateries, bars, and shops.
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