September 09, 2003
More than 400 firefighters from 80 fire engines struggled
Monday to douse a huge fire at the main tyre-making plant
of Bridgestone Corp in north-eastern Japan, as it burned
fiercely 10 hours after breaking out.
Though there were no injuries, the blaze forced hundreds
of people to flee their homes, while rescuers battled to
control it. The authorities had urged more than 5,000 nearby
residents to evacuate to safety and 250 of them decided
to take shelter at a junior high school gymnasium.
'Some residents are suffering minor irritation to their
throat and eyes due to the smoke, but no one is serious
enough to be sent to hospital,' said Kuroiso City official
Some 850 employees at the 510,000-sq-m factory have been
safely evacuated from the site, which is located in a residential
area 110km north of Tokyo.
An official with the Kuroiso-Nasu Fire Department said:
'The fire is still spreading and we have no idea when it
will be brought under control.'
The company said the fire broke out in the plant's rubber-mixing