Four killed in Tokyo building site blaze

Four are confirmed dead and approximately 40 have been injured after a fire broke out at an office building under construction in Tokyo’s western suburbs Thursday (26 July).

More than 70 ambulances and fire engines were sent to the nearly finished three-story building in Tama city, which also has three underground floors.

Officials said more than 20 people were seriously injured, including some with burns to their respiratory tracts, reports AP news agency.

Approximately 300 workers were at the site when the blaze began. Television video showed dozens of people in khaki work clothes and helmets taking refuge in a nearby parking lot.

Rescue workers were searching for one person who might be trapped in the building.

The cause of the fire is being investigated. Kyodo News service said the fire was believed to have started in construction materials on the bottom basement floor during steel cutting work.

Fires at construction sites in Japan are common, said AP, citing the Tokyo Fire Department.

Between 100 and 200 fires on sites in the city are reported annually. Welding work, arson, and smoking by construction workers are among the main causes.

Image: The Tokyo Fire Department in previous action (Wikimedia Commons)

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