Reports are saying that five people were killed in an explosion at the Mitsubishi Materials Corp. chemical plant located in the town of Yokkaichi in Mie Prefecture while twelve others sustained injuries. Details are still trickling in but the local fire department has confirmed the incident, but the total number of fatalities and injuries are yet to be finalized.
The blast happened during a maintenance and cleaning operation at the factory. Maintenance crews were working on a heat exchanger that is used for producing silicon products and a police spokesperson from the Mie prefectural police said that, “there was some explosion triggered by some sort of chemical reaction during plant operations.” An official from the local fire department said that the fire from the explosion lasted for only about ten minutes but due to the nature of the plant, the damage is much greater than in an ordinary fire.
A spokeswoman from Mitsubishi Materials, Ranko Hirai said, “We confirmed that there was an explosion at our plant in Yokkaichi, where we produce silicon materials. We have also confirmed that people were injured. We don’t know about deaths.” At the moment, no other details are immediately available as the company is still gathering more information about the incident.