No foul play suspected in 2015 explosion at Sagami Depot near Tokyo

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  The remains of a storage facility at the U.S. Army's Sagami Depot outside Tokyo are seen Aug. 24, 2015, after a fire burned for hours earlier that morning. U.S. Army and Japanese Defense Ministry officials concluded in a Nov. 1, 2016 report that a faulty valve or gasket on an oxygen tank stored in the facility was the most likely cause of the fire.  James Kimber/Stars and Stripes
From Stripes.com
The remains of a storage facility at the U.S. Army's Sagami Depot outside Tokyo are seen Aug. 24, 2015, after a fire burned for hours earlier that morning. U.S. Army and Japanese Defense Ministry officials concluded in a Nov. 1, 2016 report that a faulty valve or gasket on an oxygen tank stored in the facility was the most likely cause of the fire. James Kimber/Stars and Stripes

No foul play suspected in 2015 explosion at Sagami Depot near Tokyo

by: Leon Cook | .
Stars and Stripes | .
published: November 09, 2016

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.

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