Major fire engulfs steel factory in central Japan

Smoke rises from the site of a fire at the Nagoya ironworks of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. in Tokai, Aichi prefecture on January 17, 2014. There were no immediate reports of injuries or casualties. --PHOTO: AFP
Smoke rises from the site of a fire at the Nagoya ironworks of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. in Tokai, Aichi prefecture on January 17, 2014. There were no immediate reports of injuries or casualties. --PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - A major fire engulfed a steel plant in central Japan on Friday, days after a deadly blast hit another plant in the region.

The incident occurred at the Nagoya ironworks of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. in Tokai, Aichi prefecture, a company spokeswoman said, adding that there were no immediate reports of injuries or casualties.

"We are now checking what is burning and what caused the fire," the spokeswoman said.

Jiji Press, quoting local police, said coke placed inside the plant caught fire.

Television footage showed flames spreading around the facility, where some 3,000 employees are engaged in producing steel sheets and pipes.

The accident came after an explosion killed at least five people and injured a dozen on January 9 at a chemical plant of Mitsubishi Materials, in Yokkaichi, also central Japan.

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