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42 people injured after suspected gas explosion destroys buildings in Sapporo

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Walking my dog by a vacant house at midnight, I thought I smelled what was gas, and decided if I could still smell it on my return, I'd call the fire department. I was hesitant and asked that they just quietly send an investigator; seven big rigs showed up, sirens blaring, along with gas company trucks, and all thanked me for the heads-up. It took all night to plug the leak.

That's how dangerous gas is.

26 ( +27 / -1 )

A few decades ago, we let my dog outside, as usual, and she went nuts, barking at the side of the house, incessantly! We called her to come in, but she refused, which was very unlike her. When I went to get her, I could smell gas, and we evacuated the house, after calling 911 for the fire dept. (no cell phones, back then) One fire marshal appeared, got a piece of equipment that he called a "sniffer," and confirmed that gas was leaking from the inlet coming into the house. He shut off the gas to the house (it was summer, so, no big deal, heating-wise, but it meant we couldn't cook or get hot water). The next day, my father called a friend of his, who dug out the faulty pipe, which had completely rusted through, but, because we have an older house, it needed a special fitting, so, we had another day without gas. The gas was turned on with the fire marshal's approval of the repair, two days after that. The dog got a steak for dinner that night!

14 ( +14 / -0 )

looking at the devastation from the air this morning, I'm really surprised that nobody was killed

13 ( +13 / -0 )

It's a amazing no one was seriously injured or killed.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

What a horrible tragedy.

So many people and families are completely devastated today. Really makes me want to appreciate each day and time(s) with fam and friends.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

What sensei said. The explosion must have occurred in a separate room behind a concrete wall or something. Looking at the scene you'd have thought anyone in there would have died.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Seeing the debris, that must've been a huge explosion. It's a wonder there is only one badly hurt, if this happened during the day I guess it would be worse.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@ Sammit - if it were closed, why would there be 42 people inside?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

So glad no one was killed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Stay safe, everyone. Have your gas supply regularly inspected.

Hope those injured are doing as best as they can under the circumstances and not too traumatised.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ksteer, on the likelihood of this being spray can related: NHK World has as its main headline that investigators think the cause was a room full of aerosol ignited by the water heater of the real estate office next to the restaurant. A single soda may explode through its aluminum container if put in a fire, so imagine the explosive power of several dozen cans going off together.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why are so many people talking about city gas and gas tanks etc? The article clearly says they are deodorizer cans. What's more, puncturing them is now prohibited (for blindingly obvious reasons).

Police suspect that gas leaking from more than 100 deodorizer spray cans in the real estate office intended for disposal caught fire when a water heater was switched on.

So now the Fire Dept are saying the building wasn't up to code, but a quick walk down any major street in a large city in Japan and even an idiot can see buildings which clearly won't be up to code. One would think in a country with so many earthquakes, and reticulated gas in every major city, more checking would be performed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If it was City Gas, the propane would already be in a gas state when piped to the building, resulting in a much less violent explosion had it been liquid propane tanks.

I’d say it was less of an explosion and more of a fireball, which is why the people were only injured/burned.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tragic though, either way...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

TV news is saying an employee of the real estate agent next door to the pub was engaged in removing the gas from 100 spray cans. I suspect it might have been part of the year-end cleaning activities. But it seems like a lack of common sense to do such a job indoors.

I have a little punch tool I got at the home center to remove any little bit of residual gas before discarding spray cans (for the safety of the trash collection people). I use very few spray cans overall so never have more than one at a time to punch. Even so I always go out to the front porch to do it outside.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

TV news is saying an employee of the real estate agent next door to the pub was engaged in removing the gas from 100 spray cans. I suspect it might have been part of the year-end cleaning activities. But it seems like a lack of common sense to do such a job indoors.

100 spray cans of what? Paint? If so chances are the residual propellant would be minuscule even if it was a hydrocarbon based propellant. That would in no way cause a building to explode, even if it was done inside.

If it was City Gas, the propane would already be in a gas state when piped to the building, resulting in a much less violent explosion had it been liquid propane tanks.

What? All city gas in Japan is Liquid Natural Gas, not propane...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I meant to say that city gas is in a gas state when it pumped into buildings, liquid propane tanks as seen in some houses would explode much more violently. City gas is LNG or LPG depending on the gas company.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What a mess, Buildings to the rear, left and right side are all smashed up, jees, and NO one was killed?, some was looking down on these people last night, and was looking after them, it looks like the two building on the left will have to be pulled down they must be structurally impaired.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What a mess, Buildings to the rear, left and right side are all smashed up, jees, and NO one was killed?, some was looking down on these people last night, and was looking after them, it looks like the two building on the left will have to be pulled down they must be structurally impaired.

The "two buildings one the left" is actually the building that exploded and subsequently caught on fire, so I think its safe to say itll be torn down..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Frankly I thought these sort of things only happened in the 70's or the 80's. Come on Japan with all the modern technology in todays world are we seriously still living in the dark ages of using gas cylinders??? Its time for the government to enforce some strict new laws for old structures to upgrade. I used to live in an apartment building in Japan 20 years ago and the system was so high tech that every time there was any sort of a gas leak the entire system would either shut or all sorts of alarms would go off. Thankfully there were no major casualties in this incident but if the government does not implement new regulations unfortunately we are going to see a lot more similar incidents.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tiny max,

If you read the post right above yours, you’ll see it might not have had much to do with what kind of gas supply system there was.

My place uses propane that in tanks outside and there’s a leak alarm at floor level in the kitchen. It once went off when I was using a spray product to clean the air conditioner at ceiling level quite a distance away because I forgot to first open the adjacent window.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

On the news they showed a family restaurant down the street with the typical large windows ... all completely blown in. Scary stuff.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ksteer, on the likelihood of this being spray can related: NHK World has as its main headline that investigators think the cause was a room full of aerosol ignited by the water heater of the real estate office next to the restaurant. A single soda may explode through its aluminum container if put in a fire, so imagine the explosive power of several dozen cans going off together.

Fair enough, however if they were tasked with removing the aerosol from cans, one would assume that they're now empty. I.E they arent likely to have enough gas in them to make that much of a difference. Then again, Im thinking of spray cans, they could be really big I suppose...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Gas explosion? Terrible to see many injuries and i hope they can all be treated.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fair enough, however if they were tasked with removing the aerosol from cans, one would assume that they're now empty. I.E they arent likely to have enough gas in them to make that much of a difference. Then again, Im thinking of spray cans, they could be really big I suppose...

the tool was emptying the cans inside (presumably because it was snowing/cold outside) so all the gas that was inside the cans is now inside one room, which seems to have ignited with the pilot light of the little gas burner above the sink that some older places have.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Let me guess: They stored spray cans and one person started using a 100-yen shop spraycan puncture tool on all of them, then went to cook some water. What are those spraycan puncture tools good for?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why are so many people talking about city gas and gas tanks etc? The article clearly says they are deodorizer cans. What's more, puncturing them is now prohibited (for blindingly obvious reasons).

The article was updated to include that information. Puncturing them is prohibited in Sapporo, but its up to local ordinances to decide what is okay and what isn't

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Where people gather in large groups, may also cause accretion of methane gas . . . so it is very important to have well ventilated buildings with mechanical ventilation and/or operable windows/ skylights to allow gas to escape and fresh air in.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I can't believe no one died. Must have exploded after it closed for the night.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

These things are scary. I never go to sentos in high rise buildings, I’m scared to flee down the fire escape naked.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Reporting the leak means the owners will have to shut down for the night. That means less money.

-17 ( +1 / -18 )

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