• The Associated Press


Firefighters battled flames and black smoke for more than two hours Sunday after an oil tank exploded in Kawasaki, police said. No one was injured in the incident.

A tank measuring about 10 meters across burst into flames at a seaside factory operated by Toa Oil Co. at about 3 p.m., according to police spokesman Hitoshi Matsumura.

The blaze was brought under control after about two hours, and fire officials were using a spraying agent to cool the tank, according to another police official who identified himself only as Shibata.

The tank contained about 4,000 liters of an asphalt-related oil product. The force of the explosion blew the tank’s lid off, Matsumura said.

There were no casualties and other tanks weren’t damaged, he said.

Authorities were investigating the cause of the explosion, but foul play wasn’t immediately suspected.

The oil product is usually kept heated to 160 degrees, and a rise in that temperature may have caused the explosion, Shibata said.

Toa Oil refines crude oil for Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K., a major distributor to Royal Dutch Shell PLC, according to Toa’s Web site.

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