SHIZUOKA - An industrial blast Friday that left one man dead and 11 other people injured in Fuji, Shizuoka Prefecture, might have been caused by a dust explosion, plant officials said.
The blast took place at 8:30 a.m. at a plant owned by Arakawa Chemical Industries Ltd., which makes chemical agents for paper production and resins for ink, the Osaka-based firm said.
The deceased was only described as a 64-year-old man, firefighting and police sources said.
Arakawa Chemical said the injured included employees from the plant and from another company. More than 100 people were in the plant when the blast occurred.
The company said there was a possibility that dust exploded on the first or second floor of the four-story plant, where resin is processed on the third and fourth floors, before being cooled, solidified and crushed on the second floor and packed at ground level.
Arakawa Chemical said the man who died and those most seriously injured were found on the first and second floors. The workers on the fourth escaped with minor injuries.
During the crushing and packing process, resin in powder form might have ignited for some reason and exploded, the firm said.
Authorities issued an evacuation order for about 50 residents but lifted it at around noon after the fire was extinguished.