(Update 2) Large Explosion in Shimbashi, Central Tokyo, 4 Injured

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Firefighters extinguishing a fire at the scene in Shimbashi, Tokyo, on Monday.

A large explosion occurred in a building in the Shimbashi area of central Tokyo, followed by a fire, according to the Tokyo Fire Department.

At around 3:15 p.m. Monday, a passerby reported an explosion and smoke coming out of a building in Shimbashi. The Tokyo Fire Department said four men and women in their 50s to 70s suffered burns on their faces and other parts of their bodies. All were said to be conscious.

The fire spread to the second and third floors of the building but was close to being extinguished about 75 minutes later.

About 30 fire engines and other vehicles were dispatched to the scene.

According to a local police department official, the explosion occurred in a second-floor restaurant, which had been preparing to open at the time. The official added that there was a high concentration of gas in the restaurant, leading police to believe there may have been a gas leak. A person involved with the restaurant explained to the police that an explosion occurred after he lit a cigarette.

The incident occurred about 300 meters west of JR Shimbashi Station. Smoke was seen rising from the building, and broken pieces of window glass were scattered on the surrounding streets.