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Chemical factory fire near Mount Fuji kills one

Central Japan, hazardous materials explosion kills at least one worker and 11 others injured in an explosion and fire that broke out Friday (Dec 1) at a chemical factory just a few kilometres from Mount Fuji.

Residents living within 100 metres of the factory were ordered to evacuate as 17 fire engines and nearly 60 firefighters battled the blaze.

Plumes of thick black smoke billowed into the sky from the factory belonging to Arakawa Chemical Industries, which manufactures chemicals for the paper industry.

“A 64-year-old worker, who had earlier been missing, was found dead,” Takahiro Suzuki, a fire service official from Fuji City, said.

Eleven other workers were hurt, three seriously, he said, updating an earlier announcement that 14 people had been injured.

Fuji City is located in the foothills of the world-famous Mount Fuji, around 100km west of the capital Tokyo.

Plumes of thick black smoke billowed into the sky from the factory belonging to Arakawa Chemical Industries, which manufactures chemicals for the paper industry.

Officials said it was not immediately clear exactly what was burning but the factory operator denied risks of potential contamination or pollution.

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<p>Asia Pacific Fire, Editor</p>

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