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Dozens injured in a fire at a U.S. military base in Okinawa

June 22, 2020

Dozens of people were injured on Monday after a fire broke out in a hazardous materials warehouse at a U.S. Air Force base in Okinawa, southern Japan.

The fire started in the morning in a building at Kadena Air Base and, according to a U.S. Army statement, the wounded have reportedly inhaled smoke and gas.

Large columns of smoke can be seen above the building in the images published by Japanese media. The area was cordoned off and the armed forces personnel working in the area were evacuated when firefighters tried to extinguish the flames.

Dozens injured in a fire at a U.S. military base in OkinawaDozens injured in a fire at a U.S. military base in Okinawa

Around 45 people were exposed to gas, according to The Japan Times. The cause of the fire is currently unknown, although a team of bio-environmental experts have traveled to the region to ensure that the local population is not at risk.

More than half of the 50,000 U.S. military deployed to Japan are in Okinawa. Citizens living in this prefecture have repeatedly complained about the presence of dangerous substances at the base and the presence of US troops.