OSAKA — An explosion rocked a battery factory in Moriguchi, Osaka Prefecture, on Aug. 10 and ignited a fire that razed two buildings, police said Aug. 11. The two-floor 660 sq.-meter battery factory was recharging lithium batteries but operating without workers due to the holidays.

A 28-year-old man was slightly injured when the windshield of his car, parked nearby, shattered. In addition, a fireman was rushed to a hospital after inhaling smoke, but his condition was reported as not serious, police said.

The other building razed was an adjacent 790 sq.-meter electric wire manufacturing factory. The explosion also broke some windowpanes of nearby houses.

Due to fears over toxic gas generated by the fire, police warned neighboring residents to shut all windows and doors and stay inside; later it was determined that no toxic gas was released, according to police.

Firemen took a relatively long time to reach the fire because the factories were located in a congested area about 1 km south of Kadoma Station. The area was covered with black smoke for more than three hours.

On Aug. 11, police conducted an on-site probe of what remained of the battery factory.

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