Multiple explosions and a large fire at a US Army depot lit up the night sky in a Tokyo suburb early today. The blast happened after midnight at the Sagami General Depot in Sagamihara, a city about 25 miles southwest of Tokyo, a Pentagon press officer says. The building that exploded was storing compressed nitrogen, oxygen, Freon, and air, according to a statement issued by the US Army Japan. Photos taken after daybreak and released by the Army show dozens of gray canisters lying on the floor, as well as what looks like mangled storage racks.
The walls of the one-story, concrete building remain intact, but the windows and doors are damaged and about half of the roof collapsed, the Army says. Hundreds of people work at the depot, but there are no indications of injuries. Video on Japanese television, apparently shot from an elevated place outside the post, shows a fire in the distance and subsequent explosions shooting small fiery blasts into the sky. A woman tells national broadcaster NHK that it sounded like fireworks. The cause of the explosion is under investigation. (Read more US military stories.)