Four dead in fire at Japan rice cracker factory


Japan cracker factory

Four workers have died in a blaze at a rice cracker factory in Japan, police said Saturday, with firefighters working throughout the night to extinguish the inferno.

Around 30 people were on-site when the fire broke out at the facility in northern Niigata prefecture around midnight, local media reported. The cause of the fire is unclear.

“We confirmed the death of four people,” a police spokesman told AFP without giving further details.

Public broadcaster NHK reported police were searching for two more workers, and that another was sent to hospital after inhaling smoke but is conscious.

Firefighters were still working to extinguish the blaze eight hours after it started, an official at the local fire department said.

“We sent a total of 22 fire trucks to the site and firefighters are still working there,” they said.

The factory is owned by Sanko Seika — one of Japan’s biggest rice cracker manufacturers — and operates a production line to bake the popular snacks.

Deadly fires are unusual in Japan, which has strict building standards, and violent crime is rare.

In December, 25 people were killed in a fire at a mental health clinic in Osaka.

A former patient of the clinic suspected of starting the fire died in the same month before police could interrogate him.

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