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4 Dead, Dozens Injured in Tokyo Construction Fire

Monday, July 30, 2018

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Dozens of people were injured and five were killed Thursday after a fire broke out on a construction site in the Karakida district of Tama, western Tokyo.

The three-story building (which also has four levels underground) became completely engulfed in smoke when the fire broke out around 1:50 p.m. local time.

Identities of those killed were only released as men between the ages of 44 and 52; no names have been given. Of the injured, reports say that about 30 are in serious condition. About 320 workers were at the site.

What Happened

According to the Tokyo Fire Department, the blaze was caused on the third basement floor after sparks from steel-frame cutting ignited insulation material. Officials say that workers were using acetylene gas torches to cut steel frames and the sparks ignited “urethane material.”

Police officers and labor standards supervisors have inspected the building and the Japan Times reports that, at this time, professional negligence is suspected as the cause.

Construction on the building began in October 2016 and was supposed to wrap up this fall, according to project general manager Hazama Ando Corp. About 5,000 square meters (53,819 square feet) of the 17,500-square-meter building were damaged.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Asia Pacific; Construction; Fatalities; Fire; Good Technical Practice; Health and safety; Safety

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