No foul play suspected in 2015 explosion at Sagami Depot near Tokyo
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — A faulty valve or leaking gasket on an oxygen tank likely caused a warehouse explosion at an Army base near Tokyo last year, investigators say.
A report released last week by Army officials who looked into the August 2015 blaze at Sagami Depot says investigators couldn’t pin down a firm cause for the incident, said a statement from Sagamihara city, which received a copy of the report.
However, investigators ruled out arson or intentional destruction due to security measures at the installation, home of the 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, the statement said.
It’s possible that oxygen leaking from a defective tank vibrated its valve, causing a spark that ignited material such as dust in the warehouse and heated other tanks, which exploded, one after another, the statement said.
The 12:45 a.m. explosion produced fireballs and streaking flames visible far from the depot in Sagamihara city, which is 34 miles from Tokyo Station. The fire smoldered for more than six hours before dying out, Army and Japanese fire officials said.