Tokyo, Dec 17: A large explosion and fire has wrecked a restaurant in the northern Japanese city of Sapporo on Sunday night, injuring more than 40 people, said Hokkaido Police public relations officer Ryohei Kashihara.
The cause of the explosion is not yet known and emergency services continue to investigate. Residents reported smelling gas after the explosion and seeing broken windows in the area,reported BBC.
Images on social media initially showed flames rising from the area with debris all around, and later firefighters tackling collapsed buildings. Police sealed off the area amid fears of more explosions.
More than 20 fire engines were reportedly deployed and officials warned that the number of injured could rise. Sapporo, with almost 2 million people, is on Japan's large northern island of Hokkaido. UNI