There has been panic in some part of Japan as a warehouse at a United States, US military post near Tokyo got exploded early today, with fire balls escaping into the sky causing inferno in the neighborhood through the night, but there has been no report of injury or casualty from the fire outbreak.
The blaze, according to report gathered, died out on its own about six hours after it started before 1:00am (16GMT) without the Japanese and US fire fighters extinguishing it, though they were on standby waiting for confirmation of what was contained in the building.
The explosion occurred at the US Army Sagami General Depot in the city of Sagamihara, some 25 miles (40 kilometres) southwest of the Japanese capital, Japanese officials and the Pentagon confirmed.
“We coordinated with US fire units, and did not spray water as we waited for information related to what was inside,” an official at the Sagamihara fire bureau said, adding that more than dozen fire engines were dispatched to the scene.
Several hours later, a huge blaze broke out at a steel pipe plant near Tokyo’s Haneda airport – in the same prefecture, but local police declined to speculate on whether there was any link between the two incidents.
“We do not know any details at this point,” a police spokesman told AFP on the question of any connection.
Witnessing the accident, a woman who saw the aftermath of the blast said she the explosion was on for about 10 to 15 minutes.
“Orange sparks were rising quite high. I couldn’t see smoke but smelled something like gunpowder,” she said.
The blast rattled the windows at nearby buildings and those on the scene said they feared it could be a bomb.
“I thought the American military facility came under a terrorist attack,” a local security guard told Jiji Press news agency.
The Pentagon said the cause of the explosion was not immediately known, but that the building did not store ammunition or “radiological materials”. Nearby buildings were not damaged.
“The storage building is not designated as a hazardous material storage facility as some initial reports indicated,” US Navy Commander Bill Urban, a spokesman, said in a statement.
“Inside the building that exploded were canisters of compressed gasses: nitrogen, oxygen, freon, and air.
“The cause of the explosion… is under investigation. There are no indications of injuries.
Washington, which for 70 years has been the guarantor of Japan’s security, has 47,000 service personnel stationed in the country as part of a defense alliance.
A constitution imposed by a post-war US occupation force barred pacifist Japan’s military from combat except in self-defense