Explosion Injures Dozens in Crowded Japanese Pub

Explosion Injures Dozens in Crowded Japanese Pub

A suspected gas explosion and subsequent fire injured 42 people in Sapporo, Japan, Sunday night.

The wooden building, which crumbled and was reduced to ashes, contained a pub, real estate agency and a clinic, according to Kyodo News. The blast happened at 8:30 p.m. in the Toyohira ward of the northern city, which is the capital of the Hokkaido island.

A 32-year-old employee in the real estate office was seriously injured, according to Kyodo News. The force of the explosion shattered windows of nearby condos and restaurants, while the ensuing fire burned for more than five hours.

One of the victims was a 1-year-old baby, according to Kyodo News.

Witnesses reported fire and panic spreading through the bar, with one person telling Kyodo News the explosion lifted his body and threw it to the floor. He jumped from an open window to escape, he said.

Another witness told the news service that the second floor had collapsed, but that people were able to kick through a wall, creating an opening that the pub’s patrons and staff used to escape.

Had the second floor not collapsed, “everyone might have been stuck there and burned to death,” the 49-year-old man said.

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