Suspected Gas Explosion Destroys Buildings, Leaves 42 Injured in Sapporo

Forty-two people were reported to be injured following a suspected gas explosion inside a restaurant in Sapporo last Sunday night (December 16), as shared in a report by the Japan Times.

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The explosion occurred around 8:30 p.m. in Toyohira Ward, which caused a fire that went on for hours until it was completely extinguished by fire fighters around 2:10 a.m. The police suspect that the explosion was due to a gas leak from over 100 deodorizer spray cans inside the real estate office which were already for disposal but caught fire when a water heater was switched on.


42 Injured after Massive Explosion in Restaurant in Sapporo

According to the police report, a total of 19 males and 23 females, with ages ranging from 1 to 60, were affected by the incident on Sunday night. Several customers who were dining on the pub’s second storey reported smelling of a gas at the time of the explosion, suggesting that the cause would have been due to a gas leak.

A real estate agency employee informed the police that the explosion occurred after several deodorizer spray cans had been punctured while the water heater was turned on. The city has created an ordinance banning people from puncturing spray cans for disposal since 2017, following a fatal accident which involved these supplies in the city two years prior.

A gas safety official who came on site to inspect the area said five tanks of propane gas each weighing 50 kgs were set up outside the pub, while two 20-kg tanks were found outside the real estate office. Fortunately, there were no significant damages on the tanks, the investigation revealed. Had it been otherwise, the damages would have gone way out of hand, risking more lives within the area at the time of the incident.

The local fire department had also found crucial flaws concerning fire safety measures, including the absence of an escape ladder in the building. Authorities pointed out that administrative guidance has been issued repeatedly since two years ago, but no improvements were made by the tenants.


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